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El Paso nurses protest lack of protective gear, staff shortages at local hospitals during pandemic

Nurses Protest
El Paso nurses protest staffing issues and inadequate PPE on the Covid floors in El Paso area hospitals.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Nurses from El Paso area hospitals gathered Wednesday to protest a lack of optimal personal protective equipment (PPE) and adequate staffing while working alongside patients with Covid-19.

"Nurses are being asked to use their N95 respirators for anywhere from 12 hours to a whole week," said Idali Cooper, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years.

CDC guidelines report it can be challenging to determine how long a respirator can be worn, but note respirators can typically function effectively for eight hours of use.

The demonstration was part of a larger National Day of Action hosted by National Nurses United, as well as The National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC). A representative with National Nurses United said the group wants hospitals to dedicate more funding to PPE.

El Paso nurses marched Wednesday between The Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus to nearby Las Palmas Medical Center.

"It's solidarity because we all have the same message," Cooper said. "We all have the same concerns of getting and using optimal PPE to keep all of us safe."

Just a day ago, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had referred to state PPE supplies as "abundant" and said the state would continue to be able to provide PPE to "schools, to hospitals, to nursing homes, to testing sites, to any operation within the state of Texas that's going to need PPE in response to the pandemic."

A spokesperson from Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare wrote in response in part, "We have adequate supplies of PPE, and we have instituted a universal masking policy requiring all caregivers in all areas to wear masks, including N95s, in line with CDC guidance."

The representative also added, "At a time when hundreds of hospitals across the country are laying off and furloughing caregivers because of significant declines in patient volumes and despite unprecedented challenges over the last six months, Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare has not laid off or furloughed a single caregiver due to the Covid-19 pandemic, nor have we instituted a hiring freeze."

A spokesperson from the Hospitals of Providence wrote in part, "Our hospital is fully operational and our staff’s focus, as always, is on providing exceptional quality patient care. We value all of our nurses who are represented by the NNOC. The demands of Covid-19 have placed a great strain on all hospitals and we remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff. We continue to follow the guidelines set by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.



  1. it’s not the governors responsibility to get you ppe. I suggest you “protest” outside the CEO’S office or get back to work. You want a pay raise and proper ppe I’m with you, but focus on who’s really doing you wrong? How much administration have been furloughed or had to apply for unemployment? You think Trump didn’t include pay for frontline workers because CNN told you, wonder who pockets that money?

  2. Wake up sounds like he/she is asleep. If Abbott stated there are abundant supplies he needs to ste up and provide and not BS people on the front lines like 45 does to the US constantly. Sad how you cannot criticize elected officials especially if they are Republican because the KVIA/Russian trolls on here go on the offensive and attack and get very nasty. (Fero2a=AlbertVelard , nadodave, maga, madmike, and wake up to the list==the usual suspects.

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