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INA Board Member Letter to the Editor: “Nurses are our lifeline…”
Apr 20, 2020
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INA Board Member Letter to the Editor: “Nurses are our lifeline…”

INA Board Member Letter to the Editor: “Nurses are our lifeline…”

Chicago Sun-Times, Letters to the Editor, April 19, 2020

Nurses are our lifeline, and they must get the equipment to stay safe from coronavirus
Some nurses are being given masks that look like dryer sheets and provide no protection against droplets that carry the virus.

During this very difficult period, it is so very important to properly equip and protect our health care professionals who are in the vanguard of our struggle against the coronavirus. Nurses are putting their lives on the line to save lives. But alarmingly, they do not all have adequate protective equipment. They are getting exposed, getting sick and being quarantined. Many nurses have died. More than 200 doctors and nurses across the globe have been lost to this pandemic.

We are losing our health care workers at the worst possible time. We can’t expect our nurses to work without the proper equipment in a job that is already stressful because of understaffing, high rates of workplace injury and other occupational hazards. The situation in long-term care and correctional facilities is especially grave. Some of our Illinois Nurses Association members work in correctional settings, where the disease can spread quickly among thousands of inmates. They are being given masks that look like dryer sheets and provide no protection against the spread of droplets that carry the virus. We have already seen an outbreak at Stateville Prison that affected nearby hospitals. If outbreaks occur in more prisons, there are not enough intensive care unit beds, ICU nurses and ventilators to care for patients.

This is a potential humanitarian crisis. Our health care workers are ready and willing to battle the coronavirus. It is imperative that we provide them with the proper tools.

Avery Gerstein, Board of Directors, Illinois Nurses Association

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