LOS ANGELES - Nurses at UCLA consider themselves fortunate thanks in part to a truckload of masks and gowns recently donated by Elon Musk.
But other healthcare workers aren’t as lucky and tonight nurses here are sounding the alarm.
“We are seeing our colleagues die... We are seeing our community die,” said UCLA ER Nurse Marcia Santini.
Dozens of nurses stand apart yet together in solidarity for a vigil to support nurses across the country on the front lines of the pandemic.
“We want to let all healthcare workers in this country and around the globe to know that we are in this together and that we stand by you,” Santini said.
Nurses at UCLA say they have enough masks and personal protective equipment for now. Many hospitals across the country are struggling. They have this message for the federal government.
“Our federal government has yet to show strong leadership and crisis management that the American public so desperately needs right now to get through this pandemic,” said Clinical Nurse David Yamada.
A pandemic that has so far sickened thousands of Americans and killed nearly 3,000. Wearing masks and holding signs, nurses are demanding UCLA continue to remain fully staffed to deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients.
“We understand this crisis will require all hands on deck and order to fight it but we believe that this is possible to do so without risking the quality of care that these nurses provide,” said Nurse Aquila Tillman.
During his daily news conference, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called upon retired doctors and nurses to come back to work to help. UCLA nurses cautioned the Governor not to lower the state-mandated patient to nurse ratio.
“If we relax the ratio laws, we’re going to lose far more people... So please we cannot relax the ratio laws.” Santini warned.
The ratios are set by California’s Title 22 regulations passed in 1999. They vary depending on the situation but in some critical cases, it’s a 1–1 ratio.
And the fear is that as workers get sick or aren’t able to work, remaining nurses will have to take on more patients putting lives at risk.