H1N1 Flu Has Hospitals Worried Over Respirator Supplies, Bed Shortages
California hospitals are expressing concern that they will not have enough respirators to comply with new state regulations designed to curb the spread of H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Last month, California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued recommendations calling for both outpatient and inpatient medical centers to use respirators when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed H1N1 flu.
Cal/OSHA also recommended that health centers dispose of the respirators each time they are removed.
However, hospitals say a manufacturing shortage of N-95 respirators might prevent them from meeting demand if the state experiences a surge in H1N1 cases (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 10/1).
Hospital Beds Also in Short Supply
California also might experience a shortage of hospital beds during the peak of the H1N1 outbreak, according to a Trust for America's Health report released Thursday.
The advocacy group's report, based on estimates from CDC models, predicts that 12.9 million Californians could contract H1N1 and 168,025 could be hospitalized because of the virus.
If that occurs, California would be at 125% of hospital capacity, the report found.
Investigators note that at least 15 states could exceed hospital capacity during a surge in H1N1 cases (Moore, Ventura County Star, 10/1).The report also offers several short-term and long-term recommendations to curb H1N1 and other disease outbreaks (Masterson, HealthLeaders Media, 10/1). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.