EDITOR’S NOTE: To see a version of this story without the paywall, click on the “Coronavirus” tab in the middle of the home page. To keep the community informed, we’ve lifted the paywall on all stories about the coronavirus.

By SARA ARTHURS

STAFF WRITER

More personal protective equipment like surgical masks and gloves is heading to Hancock County — but not enough.

The Ohio Department of Health reports that Ohio, which had “requested early,” has received all its allocated personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile.

But the supplies received, and the state’s reserve, will not meet immediate or future needs, ODH said in a press release.

And locally, “We are still in desperate need for donations for our county,” wrote Jessica Halsey, community health educator with Hancock Public Health, in an email to The Courier.

PPE includes gowns, gloves, goggles and masks that protect workers such as health care providers, EMS, law enforcement and long-term care workers.

Shipments will be sent to county locations “to ensure local PPE needs are met,” the state’s press release states.

The total amount Ohio received from the Strategic National Stockpile is 107,670 gowns, 552 coveralls, 493,575 gloves, 131,808 face shields, 672,100 surgical masks and 271,450 N95 masks.

Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato confirmed in an email that, although it is an odd number, the figure given is for individual gloves, not pairs of gloves.

“The supplies we received, and the state’s reserve, will not meet the immediate or future needs of Ohio’s health care providers and first responders,” said ODH Director Dr. Amy Acton. “This shortage is why our message has been to conserve. Industries with PPE are encouraged to donate what they have to their local Emergency Management Agencies.”

Ohio Capital Journal reported Wednesday that an ODH spokeswoman said the gear Ohio received amounts to less than half of what was requested.

ODH has said taking care of one patient in intensive care for a 24-hour shift requires 36 pairs of gloves, 14 gowns and 13 N95 masks.

And, at the pandemic’s peak, between 6,000 and 10,000 Ohioans may be infected per day.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that, even with the aid, “fewer than 30 percent of Ohio hospitals have an adequate supply of masks and shields, according to the state’s department of health.”

“It’s important to note the supplies we received do not match the items nor the amount we requested,” Amato said in the Washington Post article.

Hancock County is to receive its third shipment of PPE from the state this week, Halsey said.

“These shipments have been small,” she wrote.

The Hancock County EMA is still collecting and in need of donations. So far, Halsey wrote, the agency has only collected roughly 150 hand sanitizers, 3,000 surgical masks, 35 boxes of gloves, 40 N95 masks and 130 containers of sanitizing wipes.

Lee Swisher, director of the Hancock County EMA, said there are drop boxes at 1900 Lima Ave., open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“We are taking unopened PPE which includes N95 masks, surgical masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer, etc.,” Swisher wrote.

Anyone with a larger donation of supplies is asked to call 419-424-7092 to schedule a time to drop them off.

Blanchard Valley Hospital is also taking donations through its pharmacy department. For more information or to schedule a drop-off, call 419-423-5427.

Send an E-mail to Sara Arthurs

Twitter: @swarthurs

Comments