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THREAD: Exactly one week ago, I asked what felt like a dumb, simple question on Twitter: where to donate N95s?

@ETSshow and @jilliancyork were the first to speak up, so they got my household’s small stash.

But it didn’t take long before nurses starting contacting me.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork Very quickly, I received messages from nurses DESPERATE to be heard from.

They were frustrated at their employers, anxious to protect themselves and their patients, and baffled as to why they were practically having to beg for PPE, a term I didn’t even know until last week.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork I received a message from Oakland Kaiser nurse, who wanted to know if I still had N95s.

I asked around, and lo, neighbors, friends, coworkers had them.

I met this nurse in front of Doña Oakland and handed them off in person.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork This nurse was extremely grateful, and I said I had leads on more.

Amazingly @aprilaser even had a giant box of N95s at her apartment!

I took all of those, and more to this nurse’s home last Friday. We chatted for about 30 or 40 minutes about her experience.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser Over time I was introduced to others, like @OaklandNurse, @kate_catherall, and others on what I’ve been calling N95 Twitter. The small army of people that are desperately trying to get N95s and other PPE into the hands of nurses.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall Over the weekend and early this week, I had a series of late-night calls with other Kaiser NorCal nurses and a pattern started to emerge.

Nurses want adequate PPE earlier in the treatment process, and not just when a confirmed case is receiving a respiratory treatment.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall I heard time and again that nurses WANT to do their jobs, but feel like they’re unable to adequately if they can’t protect themselves—and in a situation like this with a highly infectious disease, their own families and communities.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall One of the few nurses willing to go on the record with her name, Kristine Fry, of Kaiser Santa Clara even told me: "My 8-year-old has been begging me every day not to go to work and get sick and die.”

Which, as a parent, is a heartbreaking thing to hear, much less say.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall Fry said that she was put on temporary administrative leave for raising the issue of inadequate protection, and specifically, for citing Cal OSHA regulations which explicitly state that COVID-19 is an "airborne infectious disease."
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall (To be clear, Kaiser told me that Fry’s temporary leave—which ended as of today—had to do with her having “disruptive behavior” and not “employee safety.”)

Either way, things are very tense, and Kaiser (like many (all?) hospitals are in an extremely tough spot.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall SO (and thank you if you’re still reading this thread), that’s how I ended up with this story, my first COVID-19 story, which ran today at 5pm PT.…
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall I’m grateful to the Kaiser nurse who provided me with these internal guidelines for “PPE Stewardship” (dated March 18), which we have published in full, here:…

Kaiser was told earlier today that we would be publishing this and didn’t respond.
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall I’m also grateful to have received this 3-page formal letter sent by Cal OSHA to no less than SEVEN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA Kaiser locations over “multiple complaints” received by the state agency.…
@ETSshow @jilliancyork @aprilaser @OaklandNurse @kate_catherall Again, Cal OSHA was told earlier today that we'd be publishing this document, and has not yet responded.

In fact, Cal OSHA has not substantively responded to my questions (other than to say they may have an answer for me by tomorrow) since I first started reaching out Sunday.
I get that Kaiser may not have enough N95s to go around. I get that they’re basically impossible to come by now.

But what does it say about us, collectively as a society, when someone—just one ordinary person—is hand delivering small quantities of N95s to desperate nurses?
I’m relieved to hear that companies like Apple, Facebook and even @GavinNewsom are promising to distribute and even acquire more N95s. I sincererly hope that they get into the hands of people that can make adequate use of them, and soon.

This is a crazy, unprecedented time.
@GavinNewsom Last night, I had a call with Cathy Kennedy, a nurse in the NICU at Kaiser Roseville, who also serves as a @CalNurses secretary.

I asked Kennedy, who has been a nurse for 40 years—she described seeing the early days of the AIDS epidemic—if anything in her career was like this.
@GavinNewsom @CalNurses She didn’t hesitate: “This is very scary and it’s very worrisome.”

“We don’t know what this virus is capable of doing."
@GavinNewsom @CalNurses Bottom line: we’re going to be living in this world for awhile.

ALL THE NURSES, doctors, and other medical professionals who are trying to help all of us also need our help.

As @ETSshow told me: “It’s really difficult to make decisions when you’re in a scarcity mindset.”
So, if you have N95 masks, and other medical PPE please donate them to your nearest hospital. I guarantee they will be THRILLED to take them.

Here in Oakland, you can drop off at @UCSFBenioffOAK, or at @CalNurses office in downtown.
@UCSFBenioffOAK @CalNurses TLDR: Nurses are scared, and need help. N95 production may take awhile to get onto the faces of frontline medical staff. If you can help—even in the tiniest of ways—please do.

Thank you again for reading this.

Story tips and N95s are always welcome: text me, 646-872-5369

@UCSFBenioffOAK @CalNurses Oh and also major shout out to @davidjstier for stepping up and picking up masks in the East Bay and SF and literally delivering them to the home doorstep of @OaklandNurse.

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