Doctor tests positive for coronavirus at Wisconsin children's hospital

Pentagon distributing masks & ventilators

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 7:30 PM EDT

There was a scare Wednesday at a children's hospital in Milwaukee. Some 200 workers and patients were tested for the coronavirus after a doctor tested positive at Children's Wisconsin. So far, no new cases there.

Also Wednesday, the Trump administration is calling on hospitals and dentists to delay all elective procedures. And what's really worrying health care workers is the shortage of protective gear

"We're concerned, we're scared," Dr. Pratik Parikh, a physician in Pennsylvania, told CBS News.

Health care workers desperately fighting the spread of the coronavirus is about to get some needed reinforcements to their dwindling medical supplies. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that it will deploy 1 million N95 masks and 2,000 ventilators to the frontlines, but some doctors say it is not enough.

Dr. Zaheer Shah CBS News

"We are responding to the challenges of this pandemic and keeping our patients safe — and yet we are being asked to do it without even a modicum of effort to help us being protected in the process of doing it," said Dr. Zaheer Shah, a primary care doctor in Arizona.

"We need to get personal protective equipment because we're going to lose our workforce if we don't," emergency room physician K. Kay Moody told CBS News.

As the number of coronavirus cases spreads, so are the equipment shortages. Some doctors and hospitals are calling on the federal government to release supplies from the national stockpile which currently has 30 million surgical masks and 12 million N95 respirators.
"We're all experiencing the same fear," Dr. Hala Sabry, a physician in Southern California, said. "We want to protect our patients, we want to protect our children, but we don't have the support. We don't have the means. We don't have the resources, and so this is our plea for help."

"I think that we forget that physicians and nurses and health care professionals are human too," Moody explained. "We walk to the bedside like we always do, but now we are knowing that we are not protected and we're facing our own death ..."

There are 1 million medical doctors in the U.S. and those 1 million masks are a start, but likely a drop in the bucket of what will be necessary depending on where this pandemic goes, not to mention other health care professionals around the world.