Frontline health care providers around the country are sounding alarm bells about the rationing of protective gear and lack of rapid response COVID-19 testing -- and some are even doing so from quarantine.
Distressed doctors and other health care professionals have been sidelined from the pandemic response because they have suspected cases of coronavirus. They are home with their quarantined spouses and kids, but in a sign of how disjointed the coronavirus response has been, some doctors have no idea if they are actually infected.
"It's pretty frustrating that we have celebrities and basketball players getting tested the same day," said Dr. Damian Caraballo, a Tampa emergency room physician who had been quarantined for a week before learning he was negative. "But if you're a doctor or nurse you can't get tested [immediately]. You're waiting six or seven days to find out your results."
Full NBA teams have already been tested for the coronavirus. The Brooklyn Nets paid a private company to get the tests and learned four players were positive. Politicians are getting tested and finding swift results. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was tested Monday and got his negative results back the next day. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife were tested and seemingly received their negative results within hours.
Meantime, Caraballo, 39, and at least one of his colleagues had been home quarantined and presumed infected from one of the COVID-19 patients he's treated in the emergency room. He's joined with other health care professionals around the nation saying the lack of N95 respirator masks and other protective gear is a dangerous embarrassment that will lead to more doctors out of commission and unable to treat the rapidly spreading virus.
Not only is the dwindling supply of masks, gowns and gloves putting health care workers in peril, but the lack of widespread rapid response testing means doctors don't even know what patients coming into their hospital need to be isolated, the doctors say.
Patients can come into the emergency room without any coronavirus symptoms, for conditions such as a broken ankle, and they aren't in isolation. Doctors aren't necessarily suited up in gear for asymptomatic patients for rationing reasons. But the danger is that patients may still be infected without obvious symptoms and unprotected health care professionals are at grave risk, doctors say.
Dr. Haig Aintablian, president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student Association, said up to 100 ER residents are in quarantine nationwide and the main two factors are lack of rapid testing and lack of personal protection.
"It’s a complete mess, and our government is not doing enough to fix this issue," Aintablian told Fox News. Read more at FOX News