SEIU District 1199 Members on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis; Local Nurses Sound the Alarm About Personal Protective Equipment

For Immediate Release – Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, 877-419-7348.

“We have an obligation to make sure that these essential workers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to protect themselves, their co-workers, their families, and those for whom they provide care.”

HUNTINGTON, WV – SEIU District 1199 members work across the Huntington region and provide critical health care services working at area nursing homes, the American Red Cross, and as hospital workers, including at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

“Our local health care workers work every day to provide the best possible care and related services on behalf of the public,” said Joyce Gibson, West Virginia Director for SEIU District 1199. “We have an obligation to make sure that these essential workers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to protect themselves, their co-workers, their families, and those for whom they provide care.”

Across the nation, advocacy groups, health care workers, providers, and public health officials, have been sounding the alarm about the need for more personal protective equipment for front line health care workers before any potential crisis deepens. Gibson continued, “if they do not have the masks they need, that puts them and their families at-risk. ” In recent days, nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital have expressed concern about hospital policies and the availability of personal protective equipment.

“If we have a shortage of masks, which we are being asked to re-use, we risk creating cross-contamination. We are asking the community to support our efforts in contract negotiations and to stand with us as we work to protect health and safety for our families and the patients we serve. We are also asking for affordable and adequate healthcare at a time when we will all need it the most,” said Melanie Chapman, an intensive care unit nurse. “We can’t delay. Action on personal protective equipment is needed now,” concluded Gibson.

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