March 22, 2020
Dear Families and Friends of Gulf Coast Village,
We have received inquiries about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies. First, I want to take this moment to thank you for your concern and to update you on the availability of PPE for our associates.
As you may have heard through media coverage, there is a worldwide shortage of PPE for healthcare workers. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and Florida Department of Health have all been working on sourcing additional suppliers for PPE.
Last week, the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) in Florida, issued a guidance that all Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing/Rehab employees should begin wearing procedure (paper) masks while at work. The goal of this action was to protect residents from airborne particulates in the event that an employee was to cough or sneeze. Per the leading experts at the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and other regulatory and governing entities, a N95 Respirator Mask should be used when coming in contact with an individual suspected or with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Our community has ample supply of N95 Masks in the emergency event they would be needed. On Saturday, AHCA reversed its guidance on procedure masks, due to provider feedback/concerns about depleting inventories, and now employees will only wear masks in certain situations. As you can appreciate, the information is fluid and can change from one day to the next – but it doesn’t mean we don’t have PPE to protect our residents and employees.
We continue to receive orders from our medical suppliers for most PPE, and we have administrative assistance with scouring the internet for supplies from unconventional sources (for example, contractors who are currently not working/isolating). We are receiving updates daily and sometimes multiple times each day from various federal, state and local providers, including Emergency Management – who is trying to source PPE for Florida healthcare facilities. And finally, we are starting to see private companies re-opening and re-tooling their manufacturing processes in the U.S., so that they can start producing much needed PPE for U.S. healthcare workers.
In closing, the number of cases in Florida and across the nation continue to grow, and we continue to ask family and friends not to come onto our campus, as you may be carrying the virus yet have no symptoms – thus could infect your loved one and others without even knowing. Thank you for your cooperation.