AUSTIN, Texas — As the spread of COVID-19 continues, the protective gear medical professionals in Texas need is in short supply.
“A lot of doctors, not only in Austin, but around the country are treating patients remotely to help prevent the spread,” said Dr. Garrick Baskerville, physician and founder of Metsi Care. “We’re now doing telemedicine for our patients until we get the proper protective equipment that we can have to safely examine people if they need to.”
Baskerville is a direct primary care physician in Austin, and he can’t see any patients in person because he’s not able to get the personal protective equipment he needs.
“I went online to my medical supplier. And I tried to order personal protective equipment and they were all sold out, including hand sanitizer, gowns, masks, gloves, completely sold out. And this is one of the largest medical suppliers in the United States,” said Baskerville.
He’s not alone. Doctors and hospitals around the country are reporting the same issue. In a recent survey done by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, 15 percent of respondents reported either a major or moderate disruption to their supply of surgical medical masks.
“This is an unprecedented time where we really have to kind of ration almost, where we get the equipment to and who we use it for,” said Baskerville.
Baskerville is one of many doctors in Austin working to collect unopened masks, gowns, and gloves from the public to distribute to doctors.
“The more that I can get, I can share to other doctors here in Austin that are on the frontlines of medical care,” said Baskerville.
The Travis County Medical Society has also issued a plea for supply donations, which can be dropped off at their offices on weekdays.