Washington scrambles to boost supply of life-saving protective items for healthcare workers

Washington scrambles to boost supply of life-saving protective items for healthcare workers

State officials say they had to be “creative” to obtain protective equipment in global demand.

By Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service

Millions of N-95 masks and other types of personal protective equipment are being delivered to Washington State as public health and emergency response officials scramble to obtain the equipment needed to respond to the growing COVID-19 outbreak.

Jerrod Davis, assistant secretary for disease control and health statistics at the Department of Health, said there is significant global demand for these kinds of items and right now the state does not have enough to satisfy the needs of its communities.

Davis explained that the state’s joint operations team at Camp Murray in Pierce County, comprised of the Department of Enterprise Services, Department of Health and Emergency Management Division, is working collaboratively with many partners to procure the gear they need. He said health departments across the state report the quantity of equipment that they need and the joint operation team works to fulfill them.

Respirators, surgical masks, gowns, thermometers and sanitizing equipment have been delivered by the thousands. Linda Kent, public affairs official for the Department of Enterprise Services, said millions more have been requested as the DES and other state agencies are working “creatively” to fulfill a critical need.

Davis said requests have been made for gear from the national stockpile, Federal Emergency Management Agency, even public equipment donations are being accepted.

Kent said the team is “leaving no stone unturned” as they reach out to private retailers and distributors for these products, even working with manufacturers and urging them to “switch gears” and join in the effort to supply life-saving equipment.

Healthcare professionals are already having to take measures to conserve the increasingly valuable protective equipment.

Davis said the gear that is being obtained is being distributed to the most affected regions — including King County and nearby Western Washington counties where the virus is spreading quickly.

Kent said the need for personal protective equipment will be ongoing as the healthcare community prepares for the “long haul” of this outbreak. As the coronavirus pandemic develops, Kent said there will be “no way to predict what the need will be with great precision.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Local restaurants have had to adapt to new rules during the COVID pandemic. Pictured: JP’s Tavern in Federal Way’s turkey club sandwich with a side of tater tots. File photo
State lawmakers propose bill to fast-track the governor’s reopening plan

Bill’s sponsors want to give legislature control over COVID-19 restrictions.

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Fentanyl. (Courtesy photo)
King County reports record numbers of drug overdose deaths

Preliminary toxicology testing shows most overdose victims used multiple types of drugs.

Jay Inslee takes the oath of office for his third term as governor. (Governor Jay Inslee)
Governor Inslee: We are going forward toward a ‘new normal’

At the start of an historic third term, the governor is charting a course out of the pandemic.

The ballistic-missile submarine USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730) arrives home at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor following a strategic deterrent patrol in this 2015 file photo. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura/Released)
What could Biden’s nuclear policy look like?

King County sits only miles away from one-third of the deployed U.S. nuclear arsenal.

State representatives respond to roll call during an online meeting before their swearing in on Friday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Other state representatives respond to roll call over a virtual meeting before their swearing in on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Click to unmute: Legislators prepare for an online session

State lawmakers will work remotely as they tackle COVID-19, economic recovery, police reform and more.

File photo.
King County to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts

“16,000 adults must be vaccinated every day for six months,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr
Seattle renters seek cheaper rent in surrounding cities

One factor includes the ability to work remotely, according to housing economist.

Most Read