Two months into Nashville’s coronavirus epidemic, officials say they’re working to maintain a steady supply of personal protective equipment.
“PPE availability is certainly not limitless, as all local governments and even healthcare providers are contending with nationwide supply chain issues,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office in an email. “But we are working closely with our partners at the state to ensure we can continue procuring the supplies we need.”
WeGo, for instance, says it has provided all of its bus operators, maintenance workers and custodial staff with two “washable, antimicrobial face masks” and hopes to dole out more now that it’s received another order. MDHA also says it has plenty of protective equipment and is testing all of its employees this week.
The public library, meanwhile, is waiting on large order of gear and says it could take a few weeks for that shipment to arrive.
The most protective equipment, like N95 masks, has been hardest to stockpile, according to the mayor’s office. That means first responders might have to limit their use of more serious gear for encounters with people who are confirmed to have COVID-19.
For now, the Metro Nashville Police Department says it’s in fairly good shape.
Yesterday, the department received a shipment of nearly 21,000 Chinese KN95 particulate respirators, which the FDA has approved as an alternative to the N95 masks many healthcare providers and frontline workers wear to block the virus. That’s in addition to the 6,560 N95 masks, 10,150 surgical masks and 1,260 face shields the department already has on hand.
A spokesperson for Metro Police says the hardest item to track down has been hand-sanitizing wipes. But she says the department has enough hand sanitizer to last through at least July 1.
Three officers have tested positive for the coronavirus. One has recovered and is back at work.