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Fortune 500 company and non profit team up to donate PPE supplies

Magic Valley still reporting shortages of PPE
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Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 12:04 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) -Over the past few weeks Amazon has donated more than $10 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to Direct Relief, the nation’s largest charitable provider of PPE during the Covid -19 pandemic. The Fortune 500 Company delivered them to the non-profits warehouses, and from there Direct Relief has been distributing them to clinics and Feeding America’s food banks.

“It has been provided to over 365 health centers, and 200 food banks in 46 states including Puerto Rico,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief CEO.

Zach Goldsztejn, Amazon spokesman added, " There is really no company that can scale like Amazon. This specific donation was imported from our producers in China. We were able to get the necessary material to our network of locations to insure our employees and associates were safe, and when we realized we had this surplus amount that is when we got in contact with Direct Relief”.

Goldsztejn also said Direct Relief is the expert when it comes to disaster response, and Tighe said, “It is really important to make sure resources get to those front lines that do such an important job of providing access, keeping people safe, and out of the hospital”.

When it comes to the Gem State, of the 4.4 million masks, 273,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, and thousands of contactless thermometers donated, Direct Relief said only about 12,000 went to Idaho.

“There is never enough, but we are trying to mobilize it and allocate it based on where the severity of the need exists. It’s a heartbreaking situation, particularly now since there is a concurrent need everywhere in the world,” said Tighe.

According to the South Central Public Health District Covid-19 data, the eight counties in the Magic Valley area have accumulated more 2,500 coronavirus cases (probable and confirmed).

Brianna Bodily, public information officer for the South Central Public Health District said hospitals in the Magic Valley area have done a really good job at procuring supplies, but others have had difficulty.

“Our long term care facilities have had a major need, because they go through so much PPE on a daily basis because of the vulnerability of their residents. We have also had a lot of requests from our first responders,” said Bodily.

She also said the issue, from people that she has talked to, is that this is a situation that nobody could really prepare for, due to the scale and size of the pandemic.

“It’s a lot more expensive (PPE), so even if they budgeted for it they are no longer able to afford what they thought they would be able to. Then there are agencies that didn’t budget for this at all, because they didn’t expect to use them,” said Bodily.

The PIO said hand sanitizer, masks, and surgical gowns are the item most difficult to come by currently.

Bodily said they are currently assisting agencies in need of supplies in two ways.

“One is donations. Private donations from our residents that have too much and they want to give back. The other is the Idaho Department of Emergency Operations. They have their own form. They approve or do not approve on their own. Then they send it to our offices, and we help them distribute it,” said Bodily.

Amazon and Direct Relief said they know there is still much more that needs to be done, and they are in it for the long haul. Hopefully, some more are coming Idaho’s way where cases continue to increase and front line workers are in the line of fire constantly.

“We are getting a lot of requests for another round of PPE. . . and still even six months in there is still a severe shortage across the board,” said Tighe.

He also said it is just really important that the private efforts complement the government efforts which are being stretched severely.

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