Health care workers fight fear, stress as they cope with COVID-19

Nurse Mike Flanagan wears his personal protective equipment in the triage tent at the St. Charles Health System emergency room in March 2020. Like other nurses in the St. Charles Health System, Flanagan has adopted a routine to keep his family safe as the highly contagious and potentially fatal COVID-19 pandemic spreads. Before he says hello, he strips off his nursing scrubs in the garage. Then he heads straight for a shower, turns the water on as hot as he can stand it.

St. Charles Health System is paying forward the generosity from Central Oregon businesses that donated their own personal protective equipment in the early days of the pandemic.

More than 14,000 gloves, N95 masks, safety goggles, bottles of hand sanitizer, lab coats, face shields and bouffant caps were donated, the hospital system said in a prepared statement. But now that the four-hospitals and medical centers have access to stores of these supplies, the hospital system is redistributing the excess to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties to be used by anyone who needs it, according to the statement.

St. Charles gave each county 7,000 latex gloves, 225 KN95 masks, 400 shoe covers, 1,500 surgical masks, 1,000 clear face shields and 150 isolation gowns. Local dentists, who needed personal protective equipment to reopen but did not meet the Oregon Health Authority’s priority criteria for protective equipment, received most of the supply.

In Jefferson County, BestCare Treatment Services, dentist offices, food banks, veterans’ services and a number of other nonprofit organizations received the hospital’s excess. Any supplies that were left have been added to the county’s mass casualty incident stock.

In Crook County, the Emergency Operations Center still has available thousands of nitrite and latex gloves, sizes extra small, small and medium. Those businesses that are in need of gloves may request them from the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce.

Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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