Report: Hospitals face ‘severe shortages’ of coronavirus supplies, testing kits

Hospitals are dealing with severe shortages of coronavirus testing kits and protective supplies, according to a new government report.

WASHINGTON — Hospitals are dealing with severe shortages of coronavirus testing kits and protective supplies, according to a new government report.

The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reviewed input from more than 300 hospitals from March 23-27.

The report said hospitals reported “severe shortages of testing supplies” and long wait times for results.

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It said in some cases, coronavirus test results were taking seven days or longer.

Hospitals also reported widespread shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves.

The report said in some cases, hospitals were using nonmedical grade equipment instead like “construction masks or handmade masks and gowns.”

"The hospitals were just getting crushed from multiple vantage points trying to effectively treat patients with COIVD19,” Regional Inspector General Ruth Ann Dorrill said. “Many of the hospitals were saying we might be doing OK now, but if we increase our patient flow, we won’t be in a positive position in another week or two.”

Hospitals reported not having enough staffing, including lacking specialized providers needed to handle a surge in coronavirus patients.

The report said since it looked at how hospitals were handling the crisis two weeks ago, “Some hospital challenges may have worsened and others may have improved.”