NEW YORK - A huge supply of PPE is reportedly worthless after being left to rot outside of a Queens nursing home for months, according to a new report.
The City says that nearly 1,000 boxes of supplies, like medical gowns, masks, and was rendered unusable from rot and mildew outside of the New York State Veterans' Home at St. Albans.
The state-run facility did not have enough supplies at the start of the pandemic, and now employees told the news site that they can't believe it is now allowed to go to waste.
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Video footage taken from SkyFOX on Tuesday morning showed a huge row of boxes with blue tarps over them. A few workers appeared to be sorting items.
Officials at the State Department of Health told The City that the trucks were moving some of the boxes into storage, both on-site and off.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the incident shows a lack of oversight by the state.
"Something's still wrong here and it goes beyond the horrifying reality of last year," de Blasio said. "There's something even bigger here about why the state does such a poor job of addressing the needs in nursing homes."
Mitchell Katz, the President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health, says there is no acceptable reason for keeping PPE outdoors.
"You keep PPE, not just indoors, but you keep them in rooms, where there’s it's the right temperature and humidity to protect the viability of it," Dr. Katz says, "And I'll just remind people we needed PPE long before there was COVID, and we will need PPE long after COVID goes away, if we're so lucky, there are a variety of diseases, including tuberculosis, respiratory viruses, that require that people where health care providers have adequate protection, and there's no way you can guarantee that that PPE is still fully protective if it's been out in the elements."
In a statement to FOX 5 News, the NYS Veterans' Home at St. Albans admits that it had been storing excess PPE outside due to a lack of available storage in the building.
It said: "The facility has been working for weeks to move supplies to on-campus storage facilities and identify additional storage facilities. This process will continue until all items are inside – a process we expect to be completed by the end of the week."
It denies claims that the items outside are rotting and infested with rodents and says that reports of mass damage to the items "are grossly exaggerated."
It says that only a small percentage of boxes have visible damage to them everything stored outside will be inspected to ensure that the PPE is suitable for usage.