L.A. county officials advise healthcare workers to reuse masks to protect against COVID-19 amid shortage

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N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, DC on Feb. 26, 2020. (Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images)

N-95 face masks lie on a table at an office in Washington, DC on Feb. 26, 2020. (Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images)

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A severe shortage of gear that can protect healthcare workers from COVID-19 has prompted Los Angeles County officials to advise doctors and nurses to reuse face masks and wear gowns and masks that are expired, a desperate attempt to conserve supplies amid the pandemic.

In an urgent alert sent to providers on Wednesday, officials from the L.A. County public health department said COVID-19 infections are rapidly rising in the county and that staff need to implement these measures now, before a massive wave of patients hits.

The county has ordered more protective gear, but its stockpile is currently completely depleted of masks — both surgical masks and the more protective N95 respirators — and is running low on everything else, according to the advisory.

The news has heightened fears among providers.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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