Washington (CNN)A recent Department of Veterans Affairs memo warns that current protective medical gear supply levels “do not support providing a mask” to all staff at its hospitals and urges facility directors around the country to take steps toward conserving personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a copy of the internal document obtained by CNN.The April 16 memo sent to network directors by the VA’s deputy under secretary for health for operations and management shows how the agency was implementing conservation procedures in order to stretch supplies.”(Veterans Health Administration) staff providing direct patient care to COVID-19 patients should use a N95 respirator. When N95 respirators are in short supply, VHA staff performing low-risk care on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients may use surgical masks,” the memo states. It also asserts that VA PPE levels are consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, but makes clear the department was continuing to work toward securing additional equipment like masks in order to avoid more serious shortfalls.The memo undercuts public denials made by the VA just days earlier when agency communications officials called reports that the department was telling hospitals to decide which staff will receive


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