UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital could be days from PPE shortage, doctor says


AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A doctor at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital says it could be just days before they begin to face shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) if the number of COVID-19 patients continues to rise.

Dr. Richard Zane is asking people to practice social distancing.

If that doesn’t happen, he says the coronavirus will spread faster than hospitals can treat patients.

At UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment has been doubling daily for several weeks.

The hospital says its medical staff has enough PPE for now, but it could run critically low in just days or weeks.

Zane, the University of Colorado Chair of Emergency Medicine, said, “We could run into more problems if it continues to double and we don’t have more supply of personal protective equipment.”

Currently, the hospital is able to handle daily patient needs and loads with no problems.

Still, the medical staff is preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients. That includes going floor to floor looking to create extra space for the sick.

“And we are going through the contingency planning,” Zane said. “How we can use one ventilator for two people. How we can make more ICU beds out of non-ICU beds. Those are the types of things we are planning for now.”

UCHealth medical staff has started collecting its used protective gear and saving it – just in case it runs out and needs them later.

Meanwhile, Zane is making an appeal to the people of Colorado.

“I cannot overemphasize how important it is that you comply with physical distancing. It will make the difference between whether we can care for you or not,” Zane told FOX31 Wednesday.

Thousands of life-saving medical supplies were delivered to Colorado from the Strategic National Stockpile on Wednesday. They include things like masks gowns and gloves.

UCHealth requested some of those supplies, but it does not know if it will receive any of it.

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