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Lebanon County is asking residents and businesses to donate any personal protective equipment they may have to provide a “stop-gap” for local healthcare facilities and first responders dealing with the new coronavirus outbreak.
“Today, the Lebanon County Commissioners, the Lebanon City Mayor, and the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce called upon Lebanon County residents to search through their garages, basements and storerooms to help supply the local health care system and first responders,” a news release read.
The Department of Emergency Services is collecting the donations, which must be new, commercially made, and in unopened packages.
The following equipment is needed:
- N95 masks
- Surgical/dust masks
- Eye protection
- Elastometric respirators
- Latex-free disposable gloves
- Commercially-made disposable disinfecting wipes (germicidal, with bleach)
- Commercially-made disinfecting wipes >70% alcohol
- Commercially-made hand sanitizer and hand soap
Lebanon County Commissioner Bob Phillips said in the release that the donations are needed to help provide a “stop-gap,” while the county waits for production of personal protective equipment to increase.
Commisisoner Bill Ames said the need is “dire.”
“Make no mistake: there will be more cases of COVID-19 in our county,” Ames said in the release. “We need to prepare now to protect the health of everyone in our county.”
Lebanon County has 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Pennsylvania has over 4,800 statewide. There have been 63 deaths statewide, but none in Lebanon County as of Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Lebanon would be put under a stay-at-home order effective at 8 p.m. on March 31.
Local facilities, first responders need gear
A shortage of personal protective equipment has caused local organizations to scramble to try to acquire enough supplies.
Last week, First Aid and Safety Patrol director Gregg Smith said they are currently transporting an average of four patients a day who have symptoms similar to those brought on by COVID-19.
If that average holds, Smith said, they have enough supplies to last them a month. If that number shoots up, their supplies would quickly dwindle.
[ The Lebanon Daily News’ coverage of coronavirus is being provided for free to our readers. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing at ldnews.com/subscribe. ]
The news release noted that the CDC does not recommend people use personal protective equipment unless they are healthcare workers or are sick. Personal protective equipment can only be worn once before it has to be discarded, according to the release, but a shortage in supplies has forced some healthcare workers to reuse equipment.
Karen Groh, the president of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce, called on businesses to look through their stock rooms to see if there are any supplies they can donate.
“We’re asking the community to pull together and help protect our health care workers who are on the front lines of this virus,” Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz said.
Supplies can be droppped off at the Lebanon County Courthouse between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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