As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the nation and around the world, Bucks County recently received a significant and much-needed supply of emergency medical supplies.
Approximately 21,000 N-95 masks, 21,000 surgical masks, 1,700 face shields, 1,600 surgical gowns and thousands of protective gloves were delivered to the county’s emergency operations center in Ivyland, according to a statement from the county.
The supplies have been distributed to the county’s six hospitals, nursing homes, emergency medical service providers and several social service agencies, including those that support clients with mental health and substance abuse concerns, said Scott Forster, the county’s director of emergency operations.
“These are materials that are very hard to get, and were obtained only after calling dozens of vendors,” said Forster. “And, little by little, everyone has come through to provide us with the equipment that our folks need to be sure that they’re safe while they take care of our residents,” he said, in a statement.
“Have we met every ask, not yet,” said the director.
This week, 10,000 K-N-95 masks (similar to N-95 masks), 2,800 face shields, 7,200 surgical gowns, 250,000 surgical masks and hundreds of cases of gloves and more cleaning supplies are expected, Forster said.
All the N-95 masks came from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile, as did about half of the surgical masks. The rest was paid for with county funds. About 75 percent of that expense should be eligible for federal COVID-19 reimbursement, said Forster.
While Bucks County has faced other large emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy, a crippling ice storm in 2013, as well as blizzards and floods, the COVID-19 pandemic is posing unique problems, Forster noted.
“I think it’s very challenging, there are a lot of moving parts,” he said. “There’s no playbook, nothing to refer back to. We’ve had pandemic exercises and drills, but a lot has happened that you can’t practice for.”