Spokane County veterinarians asked to donate surplus PPE – National survey indicates veterinary hospitals are low on PPE
Spokane County’s Health Officer has contacted the Inland Empire Veterinary Medical Association with a request for the veterinary community to donate surplus personal protective equipment to aid in the COVID-19 crisis. The County is in critical need of masks, gloves, disposable gowns, and face shields. Donated PPE can be dropped off at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center on the Broadway entrance, Spokane Valley from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Two local veterinary hospitals, Wandermere Animal Hospital and SouthCare Animal Medical Center have also volunteered to receive donations which they will then take to the County.
Last week, we sent out a survey from Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE) survey to assess how many days of personal protective equipment (PPE) their members’ veterinary practices held in inventory, their supply order status and supply chain concerns. The survey generated over 1,500 responses from 44 US states, Puerto Rico, and five Canadian provinces. Here are the key findings:
- A significant segment of veterinary practices has zero inventory remaining of PPE supplies. For example, 22% of practices have 0-7 days of surgical masks; 83% report having zero N95 respirators.
- Veterinary practices report that masks and gloves, in particular, are not available through the regular supply chain. 71% of veterinary practices that have placed re-orders for PPE supplies are unable to obtain a date certain for delivery.
- 12% of veterinary practices have already donated any excess PPE supplies to a human healthcare facility. (Note: this number is artificially low since VMAs that were already engaged in efforts to redistribute PPE supplies did not send this survey to their members.)
- 42% of respondents indicated they have no excess PPE supplies available to donate.
- In addition to PPE supply shortages, survey respondents indicated other areas of shortage with emphasis on hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and cleaning supplies.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has placed overwhelming demands on the supply chain for PPE; shortages are seen across the human and veterinary healthcare channels (locally and nationally).
- Concurrently, the number of requests for veterinary PPE supply from governmental entities and human healthcare providers is increasing. Many veterinary practices have already donated any excess PPE supplies or do not have any excess supplies. At this point, despite the desire of the veterinary community to help it does not possess a large PPE inventory that can be redistributed.
- The veterinary community is conserving its use of PPE supplies and adapting where possible (e.g. to cloth gowns that can be sterilized/laundered and reused) but is seeking assurance that such actions meet the current standard of care.
- Survey respondents expressed anxiety about balancing the desire to assist human healthcare professionals through PPE supply donations with the need to preserve a core level of PPE supplies so that veterinary hospitals can continue to function as essential businesses during the pandemic.
- Survey respondents provided data on the wide range of anesthesia machines utilized in veterinary hospitals, some of which may be able to be retrofitted to serve as life-support ventilators in human medical facilities.
Posted April 3, 2020