Saint Mary’s nurses held a mostly quiet protest today against what they are calling unsafe working conditions at the hospital.
Kelly Heywood, a union representative for the nurses, said that workers are being required to re-use personal protective equipment. Some nurses, she said, have tested positive for COVID-19 because of those work conditions.
“Some of these patients are going back to skilled nursing facilities. The patient has been on one of our floors for five days, had to go back to skilled nursing — that patient tested positive (for COVID-19),” she said. “(The patient) was asymptomatic, so now how many people did that patient expose?”
Heywood said answers are free from hospital management.
“There have been … nurses that have tested positive,” Heywood added.
Hospital spokesperson Amber Norris said Saint Mary’s is committed to protecting provider and patient safety.
“Saint Mary’s PPE practices exceed recommendations provided by CDC guidelines in this current pandemic,” she said. “Saint Mary’s communicates frequently with all staff and providers on the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts Saint Mary’s practices and protocols, including any changing policies around PPE use.”
Heywood said it was not just nurses who are concerned, but the entire staff at the hospital.
“We don’t want to be out here today,” Heywood said. “(Hospital management) is not replying to our emails. We’re not getting a reply. We tried the nice way, now we have to be out here today, taking away from patient care.”
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.