The coronavirus outbreak is still in its early days. But Kalamazoo County’s health director says there is already a shortage of supplies and a strain on healthcare workers.
Jim Rutherford briefed county commissioners Tuesday night. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kalamazoo County. But Rutherford says his department is getting requests for more masks and other protective gear from healthcare agencies.
"We are recommending that hospitals and primary care docs and anybody associated with first-responders that they ration what they've got," he says.
Rutherford says he's worried about his own staff and others because of the strain over the last seven days.
"People can only work 12-, 13-hour days for so long before they become sometimes a liability for you. So, you have to kind of be gauging that,” he says. “The same is true for hospitals and primary care and first-responders, law enforcement, this is escalated for everybody."
Rutherford says no one knows how long the health emergency will continue. He hopes it won't last into July or August as some federal officials have suggested.