R.I. dentists and doctors scramble to stockpile PPE

G. Wayne Miller

Medical-grade protective equipment, such as N95 masks, is particularly important for dentists, whose work produces aerosolized particles that could spread coronavirus.

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s dentists and physicians are not experiencing the same difficulties in obtaining personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies as they did in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but with a surge possibly coming in the fall, the effort required to build advance stockpiles is causing stress on practices today.

That is the word from leading members of the state’s dental and medical communities who corresponded by email with The Journal on Tuesday.

“PPE supply is better than the initial days, when there were not enough masks to even consider all employees wearing one, but it remains a challenge to feel confident of supply for any more than a few weeks in advance,” wrote Dr. Peter Hollmann, board chairman of the Rhode Island Medical Society, a primary care physician and chief medical officer for Brown Medicine. “We are now seeing more difficulty in getting surgical masks. Cleaning supplies like wipes have been very short all along, even for the hospitals.”

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