Healthcare workers demand protective gear in national "day of action"

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Healthcare workers across the nation held a "national day of action" on Thursday, calling on the federal government to provide more personal protective equipment for the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

In Fresno, members of SEIU Local 2015, a union representing nursing home and home care workers in California, gathered outside Fresno Post-Acute Care in solidarity with the national movement.

"I'm coming to work every day putting my life on the line to make sure these people are taken care of," said Melinda Arends.

She was joined by Sylvia Castillo and later others outside the facility where they work, which they say is running dangerously low on PPE supplies.

"We need more masks, hand sanitizer, right now what we have is aloe vera gel mixed with alcohol, and it smells bad, like a lot of chemicals," Castillo said.

The national shortage of PPE is well-documented, as governments on the state and federal level work to distribute what they have and find more, but Castillo and Arends say they're on the front lines and don't have many options.

"We've got bills, we've got everything else to take care of, so you gotta work in the conditions you have to," Castillo said.

They say it's important to protect medical workers like them so they can protect others.

"The elderly are the most at risk for this right now, so we need to protect ourselves so we can protect them."

Action News left a list of questions with the administration at Fresno Post-Acute Care, but at this time we have not heard back.

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