Kaiser nurses protest repurposing of protective gear as more nurses get infected with COVID-19

SAN FRANCISCO — Nurses of Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco took to the streets prior to a shift change to tell the public that they do not accept the standards their hospital has set when it comes to personal protective equipment, or PPE.

They are fighting against the re-purposing and re-use of the N-95 masks.

“This is unacceptable. The decontamination and reprocessing greatly compress the filtering power and fit of the N95 rendering it useless for protection.”

In a statement to ABS-CBN News, Kaiser management said they use a combination of new N-95 masks and extend the use of the masks with decontamination procedures aligned with protocols from the CDC.

Kaiser currently uses Sterrad, which has received an emergency-use authorization by the food and drug administration for sterilization of N-95 masks and is considered a safe, effective, and high-level disinfectant system used by hospitals all over the country for the reprocessing of N-95 masks.

Despite this — the nurses disagreed with their hospital’s practices.

“They are lowering the standard or care based on CDC guidelines which if I heard that again from management. I’m going to scream.  We should have maximum coverage.”

According to the nurses, kaiser south San Francisco has the highest number of nurses who tested positive for the coronavirus in the entire Northern California region.

“We have 8 of approximately 400 nurses who tested positive. If we don’t have the right protective equipment how could we care for our patients? It’s not safe.”

Nonetheless, the nurses said they remain committed to do their jobs and hope that this demonstration was enough for management to make changes.

“Every single one of us has to do our part in keeping us safe and giving us the proper PPE so we can take care of the patient properly and we can survive this pandemic.”

Similar actions were held on the same day at other Kaiser Permanente locations in Sacramento and Manteca, organized by the California Nurses Association.

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