Elena is a nurse working at two hospitals in Santa Clara County. She shares her experience working as a healthcare worker early on in the pandemic:

When the pandemic hit, I think the hospitals were not ready for a pandemic, for any epidemic … They are not issuing N95s to all the nurses that are taking care of patients…Since there was no testing then, we don’t know if we were taking care of a patient that is positive or negative so we don’t know if we are being exposed right [then and] there.¬†

My staff even had to make face masks. There was a shortage of everything, from N95s to face shields, so my staff and I were creative. We used the [laughs] laminating sheets as a face shield and a foam for the forehead and then rubberbands for the back and made face shields for the staff and distributed everything we made to the ICU workers because they are the first ones to take care of COVID positive patients. There’s a lot of shortages, and gowns even. There are shortages of masks, so that’s why my staff made masks for everyone.

Q: Why do you think [Anonymous Hospital] has so many cases?

A: Because they are surrounded by skilled nursing facilities. There are so many skilled nursing facilities there. Even now, there is an increase of patients from skilled nursing facilities with COVID. And skilled nursing is a different story. Their shortages, they are shorthanded in terms of manpower. PPEs are short there too.

“I think a hospital has to be ready with any pandemic and they should have some resources already in stock. Also the government should have some sort of stock that is stored somewhere else with the county or the state. They should have something ready already for them. Just like having a wildfire, they have fire trucks everywhere. It has to be ready. The county needs to be ready by having PPEs ready already for them.

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