The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically rewritten virtually all aspects of our daily lives in the span of just a few weeks, and that includes our language.
An acronym that was once the sole domain of medical professionals has now entered the general lexicon: PPE, or personal protective equipment. The inclusive term generally refers to gloves, gowns, facemasks (especially N95 respirators) and face shields.
PPE is vital to the overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling medical workers and first responders to protect themselves (and continue to perform their critical functions), while also mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
And it is in short supply, nationwide.
The local relief effort, led by the unified command of Canby Fire District and the City of Canby, and Clackamas County Public Health have been asking for donations of unneeded PPE to bolster their own short supplies in the days to come, and last week, the Canby School District joined the cause in a big way.
“We’re doing our part,” the district said in a March 25 Facebook post. “Our district nursing staff has donated all of our surplus medical supplies to Clackamas County Public Health. While it’s not much, we want to do what we can to support our first responders right now.”
The donation included 3,800 gloves and more than 200 masks and gowns.
In a follow-up email with the Canby Now Podcast, Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster explained that each school in the district keeps a small stock of medical supplies on hand to protect staff and students from infection during certain care-giving procedures.
They also had a “cache” of masks, gowns, and face protectors that were purchased prior to and during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, Foster said.
“Most school districts keep emergency supplies on hand,” she explained. “Gloves and eye protection are used in various classes like science, animal sciences, horticulture, etc. to protect our students. The Childcare Center at CHS uses gloves for changing infants and children.”
The district’s supplies went to the Clackamas County Emergency Operations Center, which maintains a warehouse local agencies can go to when they need supplies. A logistics team keeps track of what is needed where.
The district did keep some supplies on hand, to protect staff and students, as needed, after schools reopen.
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