Rise in Covid-19 cases leads to shortage of medical devices

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The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on for several years and hospitals have had to face many difficulties. At the start of the pandemic, hospitals and healthcare workers had to adjust to the new normal, hearing promises from government officials that things would soon improve. When the Covid-19 pandemic started, the world was unprepared. Hospitals hadn’t imagined they would need so many masks, gloves, ventilators and more. Very soon they didn’t have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe, and so did the general public, but by the third year of the pandemic, PPE should be readily available in case of need.

The Omicron variant has spread rapidly and cases are increasing accordingly. Many states and provinces are experiencing a shortage of N95 and KN95 masks, which are considered the best masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In addition, rapid antigen tests are increasingly difficult to find in most provinces and many states. PCR tests are also hard to find in many provinces, often reserved for healthcare professionals or vulnerable populations.

In Canada, the government has distributed rapid antigen tests to the provinces, which are often distributed at pop-up clinics. However, there are long lines to take the tests, and they disappear within minutes, which is not accessible to most. Some pharmacies sell the tests, but they are expensive and still hard to find. The lack of available tests makes it difficult for people to know if they are positive for Covid-19 and may lead to further spread of the disease.

In addition to PPE and Covid-19 testing, there is now a shortage of all blood sample collection tubes. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised healthcare professionals to minimize the use of blood collection tubes. They said medical professionals should only take blood samples when medically necessary and should consider sharing samples between laboratory services when possible.

The lack of PPE and, now, the shortage of blood collection tubes show that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are still not equipped to deal with this pandemic. At this rate, there could be a shortage of other medical devices down the line, and the healthcare system could suffer more.

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