Originally published by WLKY News. Read full article here.
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. —
Bracing for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, Clark County officials welcomed a donation of more than $40,000 worth of personal protective equipment on Thursday.
SOS, a Louisville-based nonprofit, delivered the medical supplies to Clark Memorial Hospital, where they were also shared with first responders.
“We’ve got to keep our people safe,” said Dr. Eric Yazel, Clark County Health Officer and a doctor at Clark Memorial. “The first responders and health care workers, going in there every day in the face of an unknown, you know that takes a lot of bravery and we’ve got to be able to give them the PPE they need.”
During the pandemic, Clark Memorial is going through one month’s supply of personal protective equipment every week, said Craig Incorvia, the hospital’s director of supply chain.
Clark County’s first responders are also running through their supplies more quickly than usual.
“There was a couple days that we were struggling,” said Brandon Skaggs, chief of the Clarksville Fire Department. “This has allowed us to get that tactical reserve built back up so we can hopefully flatten this curve and keep our workers safe.”
SOS normally ships medical supplies to developing countries in exchange for donations, which in turn allows the nonprofit to constantly resupply its warehouse. Recently, they decided to donate their remaining supplies to local groups instead, said Denise Sears, CEO of SOS.
“Organizations didn’t build a budget to be able to meet the demand for the supplies,” she said. “We’re not getting funded for this program, either, so what it really is is people coming together and doing the right thing.”
Without new revenue coming in, SOS expects to run out of medical supplies soon, she said.
Similarly, Clark Memorial and Clark County first responders are worried their access to personal protective equipment might run out at some point.
Clark County is one of Indiana’s hardest-hit counties, with 92 positive cases of COVID-19 and seven resulting deaths as of Thursday.
One Clark Memorial Hospital official said “a few” of her staff members have tested positive. A hospital spokesperson did not respond to a request for exact figures.
Right now, the hospital has seven patients on its 16 ventilators, Yazel said.
But he fears a surge in patients could tax the hospital.
“We still worry about ventilator supply, a lot of the things you’re hearing from other parts of the country are a concern here,” he said. “We’ve got a great local response plan, but there are some fixed obstacles that we’re going to run up against if we get a big surge… ventilators, ICU beds. The more cases we get, the more PPE we’re going to burn through. That’s just a realistic thing. Those are all things that are to some degree out of our control.”