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Nurses say Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor is not doing enough to keep them safe during coronavirus outbreak

They say nurses who test potential coronavirus, COVID-19 patients should be provided with N-95 respirators, and not simple, ineffective surgical masks.

BANGOR, Maine — Cokie Giles, a staff nurse in the Endoscopy Department at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center and president of the Maine State Nurse Association held a press conference at the hospital in Bangor Saturday morning discussing coronavirus concerns.

Giles says the hospital has been preparing for coronavirus, or COVID-19, by setting up protective equipment to keep both the nurses and patients safe. The hospital has responded positively to many of the nurse suggestions for potential COVID-19 patients.

Some of the safety protocols include limits on visitors, limits on entrances to the hospital, and screenings for all non-employees at EMMC for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Despite the positive changes, many nurses believe the hospital can do more to protect their work and the safety of the patients.


The nurses listed concerns:

  • Nurses who test potential COVID-19 patients should be provided with N-95 respirators, and not simple, ineffective surgical masks. Up until now, it was the hospital's policy that nurses swabbing patients for COVID-19 would be provided these respirators."
  • Two days ago EMMC reversed the policy they had and told nurses they would no longer use N-95 respirators when swabbing patients for the virus. The hospital said they were going to follow the recently changed CDC guidelines, and nurses believe those guidelines won't protect them nor the patients enough.

"We commend EMMC's recent decision that will help us all during this healthcare crisis. But we call on EMMC to improve their standards even more and give nurses and other healthcare workers the best available protective equipment when working with infectious diseases. They can and should do this right now," said Cokie Giles, the President of the Maine State Nurse Association.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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