Dentists, eye doctors and veterinarians must cancel all non-urgent procedures to safeguard personal protective equipment supplies

 Dr. Ostby of Just Kids checking her patient, Charlotte's teeth.
Dr. Ostby of Just Kids checking her patient, Charlotte's teeth. (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 6:39 PM AKDT
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Anchorage workers who use Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, for a business besides urgent healthcare are being told to conserve their existing supplies of PPE so the supply lines do not get strained.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued an Emergency Order today which is designed to protect the supply of PPE available to healthcare workers. PPE includes gloves, masks, gowns and face shields used to help protect healthcare workers from infection.

To keep those supplies available for healthcare workers, the order mandates that:

“All dentists, veterinarians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists in the Municipality must cancel or postpone all non-urgent or non-emergency procedures, use personal protective equipment only for emergency procedures, and safeguard remaining PPE in their existing stock.

Other businesses in the Municipality, including construction companies, funeral homes, hair and nail salons, janitorial companies, oil field services, power/energy companies, and universities must safeguard personal protective equipment (PPE) in their existing stock, and use PPE only when absolutely necessary to protect their eyes, face, or hands in the performance of an essential function of their job.

Upon an order from the Mayor or Incident Commander, those businesses must make the preserved supplies of PPE available to health care practitioners responding to COVID-19.”

The announcement from the municipality says, “given the national demand for PPE and Alaska’s distance from suppliers, avoiding PPE shortages in Anchorage will require stretching existing supplies as long as possible.”