Oregon to get PPE shipment from feds; counties to get them by April 6

Oregon expected a shipment of personal protective equipment Tuesday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and every county should get its supply by April 6th.

Once received, the personnel at the fully operational PPE Distribution Center in Wilsonville will begin processing and shipping those supplies to all 36 counties and 9 tribes in Oregon.

“Having an adequate supply of PPE—masks, gowns, and gloves––is essential for the safety of first responders and health care workers,” said Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM). “We’re currently in a global shortage, but Oregon is working to replenish our supplies of PPE through public and private partnerships, distribute those supplies to all 36 counties in Oregon, and ensure health care workers and first responders are protected.”

As of midday today, the state of Oregon has distributed:

  • Over 1 million gloves
  • 10,000 face shields
  • Over 400,000 N95 masks
  • Over 50,000 surgical masks

“Even with the arrival of PPE and critical care supplies for our front line workers, all Oregonians need to continue working together and take preventative action to flatten the curve to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Phelps added. “By staying in your home, you are helping to flatten the curve. Ultimately, slowing the spread of COVID-19 directly helps to slow the demand for PPE.”

News of the shipment comes just one day after an emotional video conference call featuring Oregon frontline workers, pleading for more equipment.

Gov. Kate Brown on Sunday thanked Oregonians for their PPE donations, but said the supply was still falling short of what was needed. She talked about health care workers wearing masks for multiple days and on Monday those workers drove home the point. 

“In Central Oregon right now some of our nurses have been wearing the same N95 masks for three weeks straight,” said Sarah Laslett, the Executive Director of the Oregon Nurses Association.

Brown called the lack of personal protective equipment or PPE her number one concern. She’s asked all non-emergency procedures be put on hold and all other business with equipment to donate it. 

“We need the federal government to step up…I am not exaggerating when I say this outrageous lack of action will result in the loss of lives, including our healthcare workers and homecare workers,” Brown said on Monday.

Photo courtesy St. Charles Health System

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