(Shenandoah) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the demand for personal protective equipment--or PPE--continues in KMAland.
Page County Public Health and Page County Emergency Management are still working to secure PPE from various sources. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Thursday morning, Page County Emergency Management Coordinator Kris Grebert says their efforts have been successful so far.
"So far, we've received more than 9,100 items of PPE from the state," said Grebert. "Those items include the gloves, gowns, both kinds of masks--the N95 masks and the procedural masks that the hospitals wear. We get face shields, shoe covers and head covers all from them."
Grebert says requests for masks, gowns and other items have come from other agencies besides health care workers.
"When we first started, we were (providing) strictly to health care," he said, "the hospitals and the emergency services provided from the hospitals. The PPEs are in short demand--and still is--that we don't get everything we ask for. So, we've been trying to supply the hospitals--get them set up, and all ready to go. But lately, we've been sending some to some of the nursing homes, given some to the law enforcement. We've given some to the city of Shenandoah, to the wastewater plant. We've given some to the courthouse. We've been some to a couple of the funeral homes here in Shenandoah. We've been spreading out, and given some to just about everybody."
But, the demand for PPE continues. Grebert says one of the challenges is steering clear of scam artists that have surfaced during the crisis.
"Working with the public health here in Page County," said Grebert, "we constantly get emails from companies stating they have PPE to sell. There's a lot of scams out there. There's a lot of unscrupulous businesses that say, 'yeah, we'll get you PPE.' But, when you order it, it's back ordered for four to six months. So, we're working with public health, trying to get through some of those people. But then, just contacting the state, and asking for help with that stuff. They've been real good."
Fortunately, Grebert says numerous residents have stepped forward with donations of masks, gowns and other materials.
"We actually had a couple here in Shenandoah with their son who gave us a lot of medical kids with rubber gloves in them," said Grebert. "I had a lady in College Springs that contacted some of the farmers, and brought in a box of gloves, along with some of the masks that farmers used. Then, Pella Corporation here in Shenandoah--I got a hundred face shields from them yesterday (Wednesday), and pledged to give me a thousand of them in the next week and a half. So, we'll be able to give some face shields to people in Page County."
In addition, Grebert appreciates the Iowa National Guard's efforts in delivering the materials. Anyone willing to donate PPE and other items should call Grebert at 712-246-1422, or Page County Public Health at 712-850-1212. You can hear the full interview with Kris Grebert on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.