AUSTIN (Nexstar) —Following a summer of scarcities, Texas nursing homes have nearly caught up on shortages of masks and hand sanitizer, according to a report by a public advocacy group and a Nexstar Media Group analysis.
The report, published by TexPIRG Education Fund, points to a summer of shortages based on federal data from more than 1,000 nursing homes in the Lone Star State.
The report revealed more than 10% of facilities said they did not have a week’s supply of N-95 masks in May. That jumped to more than 12% in August. A Nexstar analysis of the most recent data available, from mid-October, indicated the percentage had dropped to 0.5%.
For hand sanitizer, according to the TexPIRG report, more than 7% of homes said they did not have a week’s supply of sanitizer. That changed to 2% in August and the Nexstar analysis landed at 0.5% earlier this month.
The report also highlights shortages in gowns and gloves.
Rosie Davis’ mother died in May when nursing homes started running out of supplies.
“I could only see my mom through a window,” she said, fighting back tears.
Bay Scoggin, director of TexPIRG, pushed Tuesday for stronger frameworks to land personal protective equipment in the hands of the people who need it.
“TexPIRG Education Fund is calling on the federal administration to utilize the Defense Production Act and create a national comprehensive logistics and transportation plan,” TexPIRG’s director Bay Scoggin said Tuesday.
The head of the state’s supply chain operation said Texas has what it needs to keep up with requests for resources — and nursing homes simply need to ask.
“Texas in the state alone has almost 10 times the number of masks in our warehouses that the nation had in the Strategic National Stockpile before COVID hit,” Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd said in a webinar last week.
Kidd’s team said if facilities can’t get what they need through their regular supply chain, they can request state resources through regional emergency management offices.