Huntsville Hospital CEO discusses PPE supply

Spillers said the hospital has a PPE supply in a warehouse.

Posted: Jul 16, 2020 6:40 PM

Alabama reported nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

At this point thousands of people are hospitalized for the virus across the state. The cases are putting pressure on hospitals everywhere, including North Alabama.

David Spillers, Huntsville Hospital CEO, talked about how the rising case number could impact personal protective equipment and how the hospital prepared.

Spillers said the hospital stocked up on personal protective equipment early on in the coronavirus pandemic, but if the cases don't get under control, supplies could become limited.

"We're going through a lot of PPE. We anticipated we were going to be in this pandemic for a long time so we stocked up on PPE as best we could," he said.

Spillers said it takes about 10 times more personal protective equipment for hospital staff to treat a coronavirus patient than a non-COVID 19 patient.

With the number of cases not only rising rapidly in Alabama but also across the country, they're watching their supply.

"Nationwide if this explosion of cases continues, at some point there will be limitations on the ability of the people who are supplying hospitals all across the country to give us what we need," he said.

Spillers said the hospital, like many other businesses, placed orders for masks early on from multiple vendors because it was unclear if the orders would be fulfilled.

"When we had the opportunity early on to get N-95 masks and protective equipment we probably did over-buy then because we had no clue if a vendor was going to be able to deliver, so we would buy from two vendors and both of them delivered," he said.

With the unknown of what would happen when the state reopened, Spillers said keeping the supplies was not a question.

"We just kept it all and put it in the warehouse, so we put it in the warehouse and over time the vendors were able to give us more because they all increased production," he said.

Spillers said if cases keep going up and PPE manufacturers can't keep up with demand the hospital will have to start working through it's warehouse while it tries to find more supplies.

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