Blair County has plans to purchase additional personal protective equipment and with cases on the rise local officials say those supplies are crucial.
“We’re looking to build a 60-day stockpile since none of us really know what’s ahead of us. We want to make sure that we have the N95s, the goggles, the gloves, the gowns on hand should we see any further spikes.”
Blair County EMA Director Mark Taylor says the county is hoping to buy a 2 month supply of PPE, purchases he says will be fully reimbursed through grants from the federal and state emergency management agencies.
This comes as Blair County reports its highest single increase in cases at 233, according to the Pa Department of Health.
“We have outbreaks in several nursing homes and with the testing that’s going on in the nursing homes we expect to see some positives that are associated with that. However, we are acknowledging that there’s a fair amount of community spread.”
With more cases, Taylor says medical professionals are going through ppe at a fast pace. Blair County Commissioner Amy Webster says the county needs more now, citing low levels supplies in the coroners office.
“Particularly an EMS provider or ambulance service, based on the number of COVID patients they’re treating because of the increases we are seeing, they are in full PPE on every single call.”
But getting more could be a challenge. Webster says the good quality supplies are in high demand, expensive and increasingly hard to come by.
“We will start to order it right away. Of course, we aren’t exactly sure of the conditions of the supply chains. As we get it we will keep it here at emergency management.”
Taylor hopes to have the protective gear as fast as possible. While testing has increased in the county, Taylor says he attributes the increases to local spreading and asks residents to do their part.
“We’re seeing the cases rise, we’re also seeing the number of deaths rise and we know that there are increased numbers at the hospital. It’s up to everybody to use common sense and try to implement the guidelines that have been put out there.”
Speaking of guidelines, Taylor recommends families follow the latest CDC and Department Of Health guidelines regarding Thankgiving, suggesting gatherings be limited to immediate family groups to prevent further spread.