Oxygen supplies tight in COVID-19 hot spots across US

As COVID-19 cases surge across the US, oxygen is in high demand, and areas with high concentrations of virus cases are seeing their supplies strained, WCBI, a CBS affiliate in Columbus, Miss., reported.  

"Supply and demand is the biggest issue we're running into," Leigh Walker, director of sales marketing for OxyCare, a medical supplier, told WCBI. "Once we're out, I don't know how difficult it's going [to] be getting something. Right now, it's difficult."

MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, Calif., told NBC Los Angeles that its home oxygen vendor, Apria, gave it a formal notice that its oxygen supply is "tight." Apria told NBC that "the most recent COVID surge has created a spike in demand for home oxygen equipment." 

The hospital said it has "adequate suppliers that provide patients with home oxygen," and it put "measures in place to ensure we maintain an adequate supply," after previous COVID-19 surges. 

"I think the issue of oxygen is a global shortage," Paul Young, a representative with the Hospital Association of Southern California, told NBC. "It's not specific to Southern California. We definitely experienced that during the winter surge."

Los Angeles pulmonologist Thomas Yadegar, MD, told NBC he worries about oxygen shortages, especially in the winter. If there's not enough home oxygen, he said, patients can't be sent home when it's time for them to be discharged, leading to longer hospital stays. 

Apria told NBC it's working to get hospitals and patients the home oxygen they need by "redeploying inventory from markets less impacted by COVID surges to the markets most in need."

In Baton Rouge, La., hospitals are asking patients to return their home oxygen supplies when they're done so they can be reused, WAFB, a CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, reported. 

Amy Giarrusso, MD, an internal medicine physician at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, told WAFB the hospital is sending most of its patients home on oxygen. 

Because of the surge in cases, hospitals need people to return their oxygen equipment as soon as they're done with it, WAFB reported. 


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