MEXICO CITY -- Health workers briefly blocked a street in Mexico City on Monday to demand more protective gear as their hospital receives more patients suffering from COVID-19.

Dozens of nurses, doctors and other personnel from the October 1 Hospital carried handwritten signs and shouted for assistance. The hospital is part of Mexico's public health system for government workers.

One nurse, who had worked at the hospital for more than 20 years, but requested anonymity to avoid repercussions, said she received only one flimsy mask per day even though she works on a floor with dozens of patients with the new coronavirus.

At least one nurse has already died at the hospital and a doctor is in intensive care, she said. Calls to the hospital and the agency that runs it were not immediately answered.

Mexico's Institute of Social Security acknowledged Monday there had been outbreaks among medical personnel in at least five hospitals across the country, with 535 medical workers infected and nine dead so far.

Mexico has seen a growing number of such protests in recent weeks as the epidemic spreads. Last week, residents and interns at a public hospital in a capital suburb wrote a public letter to the health secretary asking for help after more than two dozen members of the staff at another public hospital were sickened by the virus.

The federal government has said it is getting more protective gear to hospitals.

Mexico has reported just over 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 332 deaths.