Chris Lyons 11/3/20 2:51 PM 8 min read

Healthcare Workers Struggling with PPE Shortage

The coronavirus pandemic revealed the massive lack of resources within the United States healthcare system. As people suffering from COVID-19 began to flood healthcare facilities, many hospitals were left without enough personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks, gloves, and face shields, for their healthcare workers.


According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in early March, the United States only had “roughly 1% of the 3.5 billion N95 masks needed to manage a full-blown COVID-19 pandemic” [1]. This PPE shortage persisted from the onset of the pandemic and for the next several months, and some healthcare facilities still note that they do not have enough adequate PPE for their employees.

Months after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the United States, Dr. Ali Raja, executive vice-chair of the Department of Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital stated, “the data shows that PPE shortages remain a serious problem even at this stage in the pandemic” [1].

In an attempt to combat this shortage, hospitals reached out to the volunteer organization GetUsPPE asking for N95 respirators, surgical masks, gowns, and face shields, but many still found themselves without the PPE they desperately needed to fight against COVID-19 according to a list of PPE shortages released by the FDA [2]. Although healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic from the frontlines “have spoken out about PPE shortages since the pandemic began hitting the U.S. hard,” these shortages have still remained [2].

As of the beginning of September, 42% of nurses are still experiencing PPE shortages, according to a study from the American Nurses Association [3].

This lack of personal protective equipment poses a major threat to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers who must perform procedures and provide patient care to people who are suffering from COVID-19. When hospitals do not have enough PPE for these workers, they are forced to reuse PPE or use inadequate PPE during these procedures, which causes many of them to feel anxious and unsafe.

According to the American Nurses Association COVID-19 study, in August over half (58%) of survey respondents were reusing their N95 masks for “at least five days,” reflecting an increase of 15% compared to May [3]. Of the total number of survey respondents, 62% claimed that this need to reuse PPE made them feel unsafe. In addition to reusing personal protective equipment, some healthcare workers have had to rely on using decontaminated masks while working in hospitals. The American Nurses Association reported that this made 55% of survey respondents feel unsafe [3].

Frontline healthcare workers are putting themselves and others at risk for coronavirus when dealing with patients with COVID-19. These PPE shortages are jeopardizing the mental, emotional, and physical health of physicians and nurses, and shortages are also negatively impacting patient care.

Hospitals need a solution that allows healthcare workers to minimize the need for additional PPE use while keeping them safe as they work with their patients.

In order to help address this issue, hospitals should consider using the SCONE™ or Self-Contained Negative Pressure Environment.

How SCONE™ Can Help

SCONE™ Medical Solutions created the SCONE™ as a solution to help protect healthcare workers and alleviate the burden caused by a lack of adequate PPE in hospitals. The SCONE™ provides an active barrier to keep physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers safe as they provide lifesaving treatment and procedures for the patients in their care.

With the SCONE™, disease spreading aerosols and droplets can be cleared in under five minutes, allowing healthcare workers who use the SCONE™ to stay safe while preventing hospitals from having to scrounge for personal protective equipment during a time when these protective resources can be hard to find.

The SCONE™ is a single-use protective device which prevents healthcare workers from needing to reuse PPE or use decontaminated masks when they complete bronchoscopies, intubations, extubations, and other procedures that increase their already high risk for COVID-19.

With this device, hospitals can reduce the number of PPE changes that are necessary for healthcare workers when entering and exiting hospital rooms and provide an extra layer of safety for their employees.


SCONE™ has received authorization by the FDA for Emergency Use. Connect with us and learn how to get the SCONE™ protection into your healthcare facility.

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