Patients stealing hand sanitizer, face masks from hospitals

As fears about the coronavirus grow among patients, hospitals are noticing hand sanitizer and other medical supplies have gone missing from exam rooms, according to CNBC.

Brett Oliver, MD, a family medicine physician in Kentucky, said he has routinely noticed supplies that have mysteriously disappeared. He suspects patients are the culprits, stealing whole bottles of hand sanitizer from common areas.

"I've been in medicine for two decades and I interact with a lot of sick people, but gosh I haven't encountered the level of fear you're seeing now," Dr. Oliver told CNBC.

Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospitals has started hiding surgical masks in its urgent care department to avoid patients swiping any. Staff in the emergency department have also become more vigilant.

Prices for hand sanitizer and face masks have skyrocketed in recent weeks as COVID-19 spreads across the world, with a bottle going on sale for $80 on Amazon. The CDC, however, recommends individuals wash their hands with soap and water thoroughly and only use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when soap and water is not available.

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