PORTLAND, Ore. — Amid a big, global pandemic, it literally is the little things that have doctors and politicians fearing the worst.
Nationwide, medical-grade PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment), which include things like masks, gloves, gowns and other items, are running dangerously low.
In an effort to preserve these items, Oregon Governor Kate Brown Wednesday directed hospitals, outpatient clinics, dentists, veterinarians and other healthcare providers to cease all non-emergency procedures.
At the same time, the federal government is scrambling to replenish fast dwindling resources.
“We've ordered millions of them but we need millions more. A thing like this has never been requested but we've never had to think in terms of these numbers,” said President Trump at a press conference Wednesday.
The president announced he's invoked the Defense Production Act to buy and produce medical supplies of all kinds, as if Americans need them for war. That includes ventilators, which doctors warn the country doesn’t have enough of.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine has projected 960,000 Americans will need to be put on ventilators during this outbreak. The country only has around 200,000.
“There’s never been an instance like this where, no matter what you have, it’s not enough,” President Trump said Wednesday. Locally, agencies are already rationing.
Kaiser Permanente Northwest announced Wednesday afternoon it’s temporarily closing eleven clinics in the Portland-metro area.
The locations closing are:
- Battle Ground Medical Office
- Care Essentials by Kaiser Permanente - Hawthorne
- Care Essentials by Kaiser Permanente - Pearl
- Cedar Hills Dental and Medical Office
- Gateway Medical Office
- Hillsboro Medical Office
- Keizer Station Medical Office
- Mill Plain One Medical Office
- Murrayhill Medical Office
- Orchards Medical Office
- Tualatin Medical Office
According to a press release, some appointments at these locations will be postponed. Others will move to virtual visits.
The following locations will remain open.
- Beaverton/Hillsboro: Beaverton Medical Office, Sunset Medical Office
- Eugene: Eugene Medical office
- Portland: Mt. Scott Medical Office, East Interstate Medical Office, Rockwood Medical Office
- Salem: North Lancaster Medical Office, Skyline Medical Office
- Vancouver: Salmon Creek Medical Office, Cascade Park Medical Office, Longview Medical Office
- Beaverton: Beaverton Medical Office
- Portland: Interstate Medical Office, Mt. Talbert Medical Office
- Salem: North Lancaster Medical Office
- Vancouver: Cascade Park Medical Office, Longview-Kelso Medical Office
- Beaverton/Hillsboro: Beaverton Dental, Tanasbourne Dental Offices
- Portland: Glisan Dental Office, KP Dental at Johnson Creek
- Salem/Eugene: Kaiser Permanente Dental at Keizer Station
- Vancouver: Cascade Park Dental Office
The announcement, aimed at protecting staff and conserving supplies, came one day after Multnomah County’s Health Officer made a dire prediction regarding PPEs available to local hospitals.
“We anticipate that the way we’re using them now, our current burn rate, that supplies may be depleted in approximately two weeks,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines at a press conference Tuesday.
Statewide there is a stockpile of PPE supplies, but the Oregon Health Authority confirms it's running dry.
Doctors have already used 28% of the N95 or respiratory masks, 63% of surgical masks and 83% of surgical gowns.
It's enough to make people in other industries want to pitch in.
“We have loads of them, I actually just got a case a few days ago,” said local esthetician Laura Tigert. Tigert owns Opaline Skin Studio in Northwest Portland.
She has boxes of medical grade gloves, masks and disinfectant wipes that she now can't use. She put out a call on Facebook asking for others in the same boat who can help.
At a time when paychecks have flat-out stopped, she said no one is thinking twice about donating.
“This is going to be devastating to a lot of people in our industry,” she said via FaceTime Wednesday. “So hopefully, if we can contribute and help the medical field get this under control a little bit easier and faster, then we can go back to doing what we love and helping our clients.”
She noted, in her interview late Wednesday morning, she and her colleagues weren’t sure where to bring the items they wanted to donate.
On Wednesday afternoon, the county designated two drop-off locations.
- Portland Fire & Rescue logistics warehouse at 1300 SE Gideon St.
- Multnomah County Headquarters at 501 SE Hawthorne (go to the loading dock on 6th St.)
Gov. Brown also announced on Thursday that people bring or mail donations to
ATTN: PPE Coordinator
Dept. of Corrections
3601 State Street
In a press release, the governor’s office said, “Once the PPE are received, they will be inspected, inventoried, and distributed throughout the state to be used for medical professionals working with COVID-19 patients.”
Officials also put out a list of needed supplies:
- Latex free gloves
- Procedural masks
- Surgical masks
- N95 respirators and N95 filters
- Other respirators (P100's, PAPR's, and PAPR supplies / parts)
- Face shields
- Splash shields
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfecting wipes