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@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.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

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Kirkland allocates CARES Act funding

The council approved the city manager’s plans for the $2.6 million

Most Read