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.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Surge in consumer spending eases state budget challenges

A jump in tax collections cuts a projected $9 billion shortfall in half, acccording to new forecast.

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Woman shot, killed by officers in Redmond

The woman had called 911 and reported that someone was trying to kill her. Police state she confronted officers with a handgun.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Pexel Images
Two patients contracted COVID-19 while at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland

A press release from the hospital states it has contacted 100 employees that had various levels of exposure, and that the direct source in this case is unclear

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

Amazon adds more office space to Bellevue, now as many new jobs as HQ2

The office space for an additional 10,000 jobs, making it 25,000 coming to downtown, is expected to complete in 2023.

Constantine announces King County climate action plan

Plots an example of decreased stormwater pollution, urban flooding prevention, immigrant connections

The YMCA of Greater Seattle opened its King County branches to provide child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. Courtesy photo
COVID continues to whittle away at child care in Washington

It’s estimated that 25% of Washington child care facilities have closed since the pandemic began.

Ferguson sues agencies over archive relocation decision

“Decision to close the National Archives in Seattle has far-reaching impacts across the Northwest.”