Nurse dies in New York hospital where workers are reduced to using trash bags as protective medical gear

Hospital workers near a tent erected to test for the coronavirus at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, on March 19.

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Hospital workers near a tent erected to test for the coronavirus at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, on March 19.
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REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • A healthcare worker in a New York City hospital died from COVID-19 on Tuesday.
  • He was working with COVID-19 patients and learned he had the virus almost two weeks ago, according to the New York Post.
  • Protective equipment is running low: Healthcare workers in the same hospital system posted photos of themselves on Facebook wearing garbage bags as protective gowns.
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A nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York died from COVID-19 after learning he was infected by the novel coronavirus almost two weeks ago. Protective medical gowns are in such short supply in the Mount Sinai system that some nurses have started to use Hefty-brand garbage bags instead, according to photos on social media.

The New York Post reported that Kious Kelly, an assistant nursing manager at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, died Tuesday. He was 48 years old.

His sister confirmed his death to the Post, saying that she was told he had been in the intensive-care unit but that he did not think it was serious. The Post did not specify how he contracted the virus.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff,” Renatt Brodsky, a representative for the Mount Sinai Health System, told Business Insider in a statement. Brodsky did not provide any further details.

New York state has become the epicenter for the US’s coronavirus outbreak, with more than 33,000 infections and more than 360 deaths. In New York and other areas in the US with large outbreaks, healthcare workers are reporting shortages of personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, face shields, and gloves.

At Mount Sinai West, in the same hospital system where Kelly worked, nurses published a photo on social media showing them fashioning plastic trash bags into protective outfits, according to the Post.

“NO MORE GOWNS IN THE WHOLE HOSPITAL,” they wrote on Facebook. “NO MORE MASKS AND REUSING THE DISPOSABLE ONES … NURSES FIGURING IT OUT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS.” One nurse is seen holding a box of Hefty Strong 33-gallon bags, more commonly used for lining household trash cans.