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Hartford HealthCare to supply workers with masks (not necessarily N-95 masks)

"Our job is to protect our colleagues so that they are able to provide the care," Dr. Ajay Kumar said.
Credit: HartfordHealthCare

Hartford HealthCare announced in a press conference Wednesday that every employee who is involved in patient care will receive an N95 or surgical mask.

"Our job is to protect our colleagues so that they are able to provide the care," Dr. Ajay Kumar said.

Doctors, nurses, technicians, people restocking pharmacy supplies and individuals serving meals are among the workers who will receive the masks.

Anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 masks will be required everyday for these professionals, according to Dr. Kumar.

Officials say "tremendous outreach" with donations is what will make providing the face shields possible.

Those donations have come from companies such as Stanley Black & Decker, Foxwoods, ConnectiCare and people like Arnold Chase -- just to name a few.

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How long do the masks last?

"Any clinician managing a COVID positive patient, the mask is a single-use mask," Dr. Kumar said. "That is not to be used again because we want to protect next patients and our colleagues as well."

However, a clean N95 mask that has not been exposed to a positive coronavirus patient, can last a long time and be re-used.

Surgical masks do not have the same life span.

"I don't expect they will be lasting a long time," he noted. "Usually it will be a one-shift or 24-hour period. We are still trying to figure this out, as every clinical area has different demands."

In addition to face shields, Hartford HealthCare is experiencing a shortage of gloves and gowns.

Gloves are typically made in China and the current distribution challenge has made its impact on healthcare locally.

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