NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Cooley Dickinson Hospital announced two patients have tested positive for coronavirus.

While this may be unsettling to the community, some hospital employees are also feeling anxious and are now even reusing protective personal equipment.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Nurses Association for Cooley Dickinson, Candie St. Jean told Western Mass News that nurses are re-using masks since there is a shortage of medical equipment...something unsettling to many.

With two patients testing positive for coronavirus at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, some employees told us that the atmosphere inside the hospital is worrisome.

"A lot of people are concerned about their own families and bringing things back to them,' St. Jean said.

St. Jean said one of those concerns comes from the hospital being low on supplies and nurses are being asked to re-use masks.

"It’s certainly not ideal just given what we know about this virus and how easily it spreads it’s unsettling for many many of our nurses," St. Jean explained.

Christina Trinchero, Marketing Communications Director for the hospital told Western Mass News that this move comes from a recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It is critical that we can serve personal protective equipment due to national shortages and backorders of these materials," Trinchero said.

And some employees, including emergency department nurse and chair of MNA Cooley Dickinson, Emma Dragon, they are feeling unsettled knowing some safety equipment is hard to keep in stock.

"There’s a lot of anxiety going around in terms of the availability of supply to keep us safe and also with these cases just being exposed to the virus and everything like that," Dragon explained.

Dragon said she knows at least 10 employees out of work because of the virus, not including herself.

She was sent home from work with a fever and was tested for coronavirus Wednesday morning.

This leaves many employees wondering if there will be enough staffing if more nurses are sent home...something St. Jean said is an ongoing problem already.

"Staffing has been an issue and having enough nurses has been an issue all along with flu season and our behavioral health crisis staffing has been an issue even before this," St. Jean explained.

Cooley Dickinson Hospital has also changed their visitor policies.

Right now they are not allowing any visitors.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is working on getting more sets of scrubs for the nurses to help stop germs from spreading.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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