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Amid shortage, Pence says millions of masks available 'now' for hospitals to buy

Shortage, Pence says millions of masks available 

Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis. Scott Steiner, the CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System in Georgia, previously told ABC News that they ran through six months worth of protective equipment, or PPE, in seven days. And on Monday, the National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo said in a statement that currently, the quantity of personal protective equipment for health care workers is "drastically short of what is needed to stem the danger of becoming infected and exposing patients, family members, and other health care staff.""Instead of rolling back standards, as the New York city News Centers for Disease Control and the American Hospital Association are proposing, we need to substantially increase the supply of the highest standard of protective equipment. That includes powered air-purifying respirators, N95 respirators, and other proper protective clothing and gear," Castillo said. Pence reiterated that the face masks are currently in the marketplace, "we're going to make it clear to governors, as we made it clear to health care providers on conference calls yesterday, that those resources are now there," he said.



Says millions of masks 

Pence and President Donald Trump were also asked about guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health care workers on how to deal with the limited supply on hand. The CDC guidance "offers a series of strategies or options to optimize supplies of face masks in healthcare settings when there is a limited supply."It states that "as a last resort," in situations where there are no face masks available, health care workers "might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for the care of patients with COVID-19.""However, homemade masks are not considered PPE (personal protective equipment), since their capability to protect Press Release Distribution New York City  Services HCP is unknown," the CDC guidance said, adding that "caution should be exercised when considering this option.""Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face," according to the guidance. When specifically asked about the guidance issued by the CDC, Trump said he hadn't seen it."We've vastly increased the supply of medical masks, and we're going to continue to put a priority on making sure that we are calling on industry at every level, calling on major suppliers that the president met with this week, to make sure those personal protective equipment are there," Pence later said.

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