SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Over the last few weeks, hospitals in KELOLAND have been gearing up to fight COVID-19. One of the ways they’re doing so is by making sure they have enough personal protective equipment.
Working in the medical field is something Kelly Wharton always wanted to do.
But now, when the Sanford Health ER nurse arrives at work, she’s suiting up in more than just her scrubs.
“Gloves, a gown, the mask, we have actually two masks that we wear then. So the N95’s and then just the regular surgical masks. So we wear those together, we wear a face shield, we wear eye gear,” Wharton said.
Those are just some of the items helping keep patients and health care workers, like Wharton safe, and she’s thankful for the protection.
Dr. Mike Wilde with Sanford Health says although other areas of the country are experiencing personal protective equipment shortages– Sanford is not.
“We came into this doing really quite fine as an organization. We took time to prioritize things that we may need in a surge,” Wilde said.
He says the hospital has taken various steps to conserve PPE, but also thanks people in the community for their efforts in helping slow the spread.
“This is one we’re all unified against and so thank you. And continue, like I continue and we all need to continue reminding each other of social distancing and hand hygiene that is just so critical,” Wilde said.
Wharton is happy with the work the hospital is doing to ensure PPE is available because just the thought of running out worries her.
“It’s scary. I think it’s scary enough right now having everything that we do need just because there’s not a ton of information known about this virus in particular,” Wharton said.
But right now, her passion to help others is outweighing fears of what if.
“When we all signed up to be nurses we did it because we want to help people and that’s what we’re being called to do right now because there’s a lot of people that do need help,” Wharton said.
The CDC recently changed its guidelines, stating that even those not working in health care should wear a mask when out in public.
Wilde recommends people who don’t work in health care opt for fabric masks, and donate any surgical masks they may have to health care facilities.