FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A group of nurses at Kaiser Medical Center in Fresno held a protest Tuesday afternoon, demanding better protection while treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to be here every day. We want to be taking care of our patients. We just want to do it safely,” said registered nurse Rachel Spray. “We don’t want to get sick, we don’t want to cross-contaminate to the other patients, we don’t want to take it home to our families.”
Senior Vice President And Area Manager For Kaiser Permanente Fresno Wade Nogy released a state Tuesday, saying Kaiser is following CDC guidelines and using the same protocols and protective equipment as other hospitals across the country, but some nurses say it’s not enough.
“Kaiser is following the minimum standard of PPE that is the guidelines of the CDC. We are asking, we’re demanding that they follow the highest level of PPE to keep everyone safe,” said Spray.
“First they were not providing us any N95s. Now that they are providing us they’re making us reuse it. As of today, they want to autoclave them, and so we can use it three times,” said registered nurse Amy Grewal.
Nogy’s statement also confirmed that 10 nurses from Kaiser Medical Center in Fresno have tested positive for COVID-19; seven of the cases are determined to be work-related.
“We have some nurses who have been tested positive. We have one in the ICU fighting for their life, and we are out here asking Kaiser to do the right thing so no more of our nurses get sick,” said Spray.
Nogy added that employees are notified of potential exposure within one to two days after a patient or coworker receives a positive test result. Nogy also said Kaiser will provide up to 80 extra hours of paid leave for employees who test positive for COVID-19.