Pandemic spurring hospital shortage of pipette tips, sterile water, analysis finds

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Hospitals are facing shortages of supplies such as sterile water and pipette tips due to the spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations during the winter months, according to data from Premier cited by The Hill. 

Usage of sterile water is up 350 percent from rates seen last May, according to Premier's data, collected between May 2020 and January 2021 from 50 health systems around the U.S. Hospital inventories of sterile water have dropped an average of 50 percent. 

Pipette tips and micro pipettes, which are used in COVID-19 lab testing, are also seeing a spike in demand compared to last year, The Hill reported. Pipette tip usage spiked more than 100 percent during November and December compared to usage rates in May, before falling slightly in January. 

Hospitals are also reporting that some supplies needed for COVID-19 testing and treatment are much harder to find as of January, according to The Hill. The delivery time for pipette tip orders increased from a few days to nearly a month. 

Premier, a group purchasing organization for hospitals and health systems, told The Hill it is urging President Joe Biden to form a public-private advisory council of manufacturers, physicians and pharmacists to identify supplies needed for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine administration to make sure the supplies are available to hospitals and health systems.  

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