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Local Nurses Speak Up About Lack of Supplies

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Doctors and nurses are among the most needed during this pandemic, but local nurses say not enough is being done to protect them.

They marched silently at Kaiser Medical Center in Roseville but spoke up with one major message: there's not enough protection for those on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis.

"We were told on Friday that we had enough equipment but the next day we were told they did not," said Joanne Imwalle, a Kaiser Roseville nurse. "This is the first time in my career that I've been concerned for my own personal safety."

She and many other nurses gathered outside Kaiser Medical Center in Roseville on Thursday to protest the lack of training they've received to battle this virus and don't feel properly equipped to avoid transmitting it or getting sick themselves.

READ: Coronavirus In California: Governor Announces Statewide Stay At Home Order

These issues, we're told, stretch even far beyond our local communities. Nurses told CBS13 they are being asked to reuse their face masks and some are being asked not to wear them at all

"They're stockholding equipment and keeping it until they dispense it," said Imwalle. "We need this equipment now."

All of this, they say, could make them easy COVID-19 targets.

"As healthcare workers – if we're not safe, we can't keep our patients safe," said Cathy Kennedy, a member of the California Nurses Association.

CBS13 reached out to Kaiser Permanente asking about these conditions. They sent this statement attributed to Stephen Parodi, MD.

"The health and safety of our patients, staff, and the community is our top priority.

The protocols that Kaiser Permanente is using to care for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 are aligned with the latest science and guidance from public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These protocols, and personal protective equipment, have been reviewed and approved by our infectious disease experts and are in use by the major hospital systems in California and the U.S.

These measures, along with the many steps we are taking to slow the spread of this virus, will significantly increase our ability to prepare for any increased volume of COVID-19 patients, while protecting our staff and providing them with the right protective equipment."

Still, nurses said more must be done.

"Who's going to take care of the patients?" said Kennedy. "This is a national emergency."

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