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AZ Paramedic: ‘We Need Leadership From the Federal Government’

Photo Credit: Getty / Joe Raedle / Staff
AZ Paramedic: ‘We Need Leadership From the Federal Government’
By AFSCME Staff ·
AZ Paramedic: ‘We Need Leadership From the Federal Government’
Pictured: Michelle Prentice. Member-provided photo.

Editor’s note: The following is a story from the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus, from a member of AFSCME Local 2960 in Arizona:

“My name is Michelle Prentice, and I'm a field paramedic and field training officer in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Our biggest fear is running out of personal protective equipment like masks and gowns.

When we get a call, and someone is reporting a high fever or other COVID-19-related symptoms, we must treat every case like we're transporting a positive patient. We need masks and gowns to protect both ourselves and patients at the facilities they're going to.

We've got one N-95 [respirator] mask a day for ourselves and surgical masks for patients, but if we miss a single shipment, we could be in real trouble. We need that PPE [personal protective equipment] to make sure we can keep working and we don't spread this ourselves among our community.

Right now, everyone is competing for the same resources. We won’t be able to contain this virus if folks in some states have PPE but workers elsewhere on the front lines are going without. The novel coronavirus will continue to spread.

This is just one aspect of a much larger problem, but it's vital that first responders and health care workers stay healthy so that we can continue to fight this virus. We can't bill patients for masks and gowns. We need leadership from the federal government to step in and make sure we're getting what we need.”

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