The Tasmanian Government is trying to triple the number of ventilators in the State to 150 as reports emerge of protective equipment being stolen.
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said she had asked police to investigate reports that personal protective equipment had been taken from hospitals.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Tasmanian secretary Emily Shepherd confirmed she had written to the Minister after members expressed concern that equipment had been taken from hospitals, community centres and aged care facilities before the lockdown was implemented.
Ms Courtney did not name the hospitals but said she had asked that measures be stepped up to prevent thefts.
"This is absolutely unacceptable," Ms Courtney said.
"Our health care workers are working on the front line to support Tasmanians.
"PPE is there to help support the people who are there to save our lives.
"If we hear of or find any cases I will ensure the full force of the law is brought upon these people."
Ms Courtney said she has asked the Health Department secretary to take appropriate measures to ensure thefts did not happen.
She had also spoken to the Police Commissioner Darren Hine to "ensure any cases are fully investigated.
Ms Courtney said there were 50 ventilators in Tasmania and she was trying to get more to get three times more but there were challenges with supply.
Meanwhile, Ms Shepherd said she understood community concern may have led to people taking PPE from hospitals.
"They are usually locked away but in some cases they can be on a trolley outside a door but now we hope they will not be visible," Ms Shepherd said.
"Our members who reported the thefts fully understand people's anxiety but health care workers need masks to keep people safe in this COVID-19 crisis."
Ms Shepherd said it was vital that nurses, midwives, and care workers had PPE for them to do their jobs safely.
"Our nurses, midwives and care workers need assurance that a steady supply of PPE can be manufactured in Australia in a timely way. That is what our membership needs right now in the face of an increasingly deteriorating health crisis."
Health and Community Services Union assistant secretary Robbie Moore said the problems with PPE had been exacerbated because of a shortage of supplies.
"There is never enough supplies of PPE or even bed linen in our hospitals," Mr Moore said.
"Ventilators are critical equipment because we know they save lives and staff are very worried we won't have enough as we reach a peak and want to save as many lives as possible."