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Shortage of protective equipment hits county

Requests for supplies go unfilled
Posted: 5:17 PM, Mar 23, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-23 19:00:56-04
PPE shortage .jpg

PARMA, Ohio — Cuyahoga County's executive said Monday that requests for thousands of supplies needed to protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic cannot be filled.

It comes as demand for personal protective equipment, or PPE, is surging worldwide.

"We've gotten requests from cities, from our own departments for thousands and thousands more masks and gloves and other PPE and it's not there," said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. "I am concerned about it. I want to keep our people safe that are doing the work for this community."

Budish specifically mentioned workers in the county's jails and Department of Children and Family Services who continue going into the community to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

"I've authorized as much money as necessary to get these PPE for us and we will distribute it if we get it, as needed, to both our own folks, to the hospitals, to the cities that are asking for it, but right now, we can't get it," said Budish.

The county's health commissioner said the shortage has forced emergency responders and medical workers to re-evaluate policies concerning use of the supplies.

"When they change it to try and get the most life out of that equipment with the most safety," said Heath Commissioner Terry Allan.

The Bureau of Health hopes relief could come from the National Strategic Stockpile, but what supplies and how many make it to Cuyahoga County isn't yet known.

"This is a national problem," said Allan "This isn't just an issue locally, so we're hopeful we'll start to see the flow come in, but right now, we're going to do the best we can to work with facilities to assure that people have what they need to protect their workers, but it is a challenging moment."

Anyone interested in donating protective equipment including masks or gloves is asked to call Cuyahoga County's COVID-19 hotline at 1-855-711-3035.

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