Minnesota nurses worry resuming surgeries could strain supplies — 4 things to know

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Resuming elective surgeries at Minnesota hospitals could strain already limited resources of personal protective equipment, nurses told the StarTribune.

Four things to know:

1. Elective surgeries and procedures — which have been postponed since March 23 — are restarting as early as May 11 at some hospitals. A state order relaxing case restrictions requires hospitals to establish plans that ensure worker and patient safety.

2. Since halting elective cases, Minnesota has bolstered its stockpile of masks, gloves and face shields, making slight headway in the availability of gowns and N95 masks.

3. Hospitals can now tap into the state's critical care reserves when they're down to seven days' worth of supplies. Previously, they couldn't draw on those resources unless they were down to three days' worth of supplies — or less.

3. Still, nurses at local hospitals are reusing N95 masks to conserve them and stapling elastic bands on the masks when they become loose. Some say their gowns don't completely cover their scrubs, and others don't believe they've received complete information on supply availability.

"Current facility policies on the use of PPE, including its reuse, are endangering nurses, other healthcare providers and patients," Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner, RN, said in a letter to state officials.

More articles on surgery centers:
Life after ramp-up: How COVID-19 will change ASCs forever
3 ASC nurses join COVID-19 front lines in New York
4 hospitals, health systems opening ASCs 

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