SALEM, OR (KPTV) - The Oregon National Guard is delivering hundreds of thousands of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment to long-term care facilities and home-care workers across the state.
According to a news release from Gov. Kate Brown's office, the deliveries began on Saturday. The plan is to distribute pieces of PPE to every assisted living facility in Oregon. In total, 395,000 pieces of PPE, including masks, gloves, gowns and face shields, are getting shipped, the governor's office said.
"The staff of Oregon's long-term care facilities are on the front lines of our fight against COVID-19, and I am committed to protecting their health and safety," Gov. Brown said. "This critical equipment will help protect both them and the residents of these facilities, who are among the most at-risk Oregonians for exposure and infection."
Liz Merah, Gov. Brown's press secretary, said the PPE came from the state agency's share of Oregon's total PPE stockpile. Typically, allocations to assisted living facilities comes from the counties' shares, Merah said, but "recognizing the urgent need," the state redirected 395,000 pieces to help supply the facilities.
SEIU 503, which represents more than 20,000 care workers in Oregon, said mobilizing National Guard members to get the supplies to the people who need it quickly was the right call. Executive Director Melissa Unger told FOX 12 she hopes these kinds of shipments continue.
"We need to get out crisis mode where they’re conserving everything and instead able to use [PPE] as recommended," Unger said.
She also said people working in long-term care facilities aren't often thought of first, but should be as prioritized and protected as health care workers in hospitals.
"I do think this crisis is highlighting a long-term problem that we have and I’m really hoping that this PPE equipment and the attention being paid really is gonna help us produce long-term solutions that really value the work that these workers do," Unger said.
The governor's office was unable to say whether or not more deliveries like this will happen in the future.
Some of the PPE shipments have already arrived at The Springs Living facilities, including its Lake Oswego location. Founder and CEO Fee Stubblefield released the following statement:
“All of us at The Springs Living are grateful to the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Health Care Association for arranging the delivery of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to our communities yesterday. While we have no cases of COVID-19 in any of our communities, having this equipment is critical to keeping it that way.”
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