Around the country, nursing homes trying to protect their residents from the coronavirus eagerly await boxes of masks, eyewear and gowns promised by the federal government. But all too often the packages deliver disappointment — if they arrive at all.
Some contain flimsy surgical masks or cloth face coverings that are explicitly not intended for medical use. Other are missing items or have far less than the full week’s worth of protective equipment the government promised to send. Instead of proper medical gowns, many packages hold large blue plastic ponchos.
“It’s like putting a trash bag on,” said Pamela Black, the administrator of Enterprise Estates Nursing Center in Enterprise, Kansas. “There’s no real place for your hands to come out.”
As nursing homes remain the pandemic’s epicenter, the federal government is failing to ensure they have all the personal protective equipment, or PPE, needed to prevent the spread of the