Shortage of protective gear and gowns for healthcare workers limits COVID-19 testing

At a West Oak Lane Rite Aid coronavirus testing site, the action is brisk as healthcare workers and first responders are checked for the spreading virus. The more testing the tougher the attack on COVID-19, but a shortage of protective gear and gowns for healthcare workers is limiting the tests the city can actually do.

RELATED: Rite Aid to open one COVID-19 drive-thru testing site for first responders, healthcare workers

"That means there are people out there who have the infection we don’t diagnose. We know we’ll never be able to diagnose all of them, but the more we can’t diagnose the more will spread it because of their ignorance," Philadelphia Healh Comissioner Dr. James Farley said.

FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked the Health Commissioner about a health care worker who’s using one face mask per 12 hour shift, and multiple patients.   "If we had unlimited number of masks they’d change after every interaction. We don’t. That’s why we made recommendations on how to conserve masks," Farley said.

Citizens Bank Park stands vacant Tuesday, but it’s parking lot is filled with traffic cones and tents for the city’s testing site. Mayor Jim Kenney says the testing will remain here as will the citywide stay-at-home order put in place Monday morning.

"I want to be clear out stay at home order is still very much in place despite what you heard yesterday fo the White House. Still very much in place and will continue to be," Mayor Kenny said Wednesday. 

In West Oak lane, the caution is evident. Medical workers place protective bibs on each other and hands are vigorously cleaned. Officials say they’ve yet to turn back the virus, but hope that day is coming... 

"I want to be clear Philadelphia will do the best for our citizens. We realize our stay at home order creates hardships for thousands of people," Kenney said.


There are currently at least 851 cases of the novel coronavirus in Pennsylvania, according to state health officials. Seven deaths have been reported.

City officials reported 252 COVID-19 cases within Philadelphia. At least 23 patients are hospitalized, and 25 patients are healthcare workers.


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