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Florida Medical Workers Call on Gov. DeSantis to Provide More PPE, Faster Coronavirus Test Results

Photo: Online Marketing
Photo: Online Marketing

Medical workers talked about inadequate PPE and long hours in high-risk environments at a round table hosted by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Friday.

Dr. Mona Mangat of Bay Area Allergy & Asthma said she’s had to re-wear the same KN-95 masks she sourced online from China for five to seven days in a row.

On top of that, Mangat says her patients can’t get test results back quickly enough and there’s not enough contact tracers in the state.

That’s why she’s calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to put more safeguards in place to protect healthcare providers and their patients.

"That means procuring PPE for all healthcare workers and front line workers. It means making sure that we have COVID testing that is adequate and that results come back in a timely fashion. It means ensuring there is a mask mandate so that everyone is masking."

Mangat warned against further reopening schools and businesses in Florida.

The same sentiment was echoed by Kristina Hernandez, a medical technologist in Pinellas County, who said she had to buy N-95 masks for herself along with the phlebotomists she works with. 

Plus, Hernandez, who has the autoimmune disease lupus, says they’ve already been told not to expect raises this year or extra staff who could help with the backlog of tests.

“Please understand that we are very appreciative to be working at all. We know that there are so many millions of people that are not currently working. So, it's not that we’re being greedy. But we’re risking ourselves on a regular basis.”

Hernandez says she’s worried about her safety and that of her colleagues as the state added more than 12,000 new coronavirus cases and 135 coronavirus-related deaths today.

If you'd like to listen to this story, click on the clip at the top of the page.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.