Much-needed PPE supplies starting to arrive at local emergency management offices

EOC teams distributing gloves, masks to facilities that have run out

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Emergency operations centers across the state are rushing to get supplies out to those who have the most desperate need.

In Seminole County, the EOC team confirms it has already delivered supplies to 14 assisted living centers, a hospital and three first responder groups that were completely out of supplies. Workers there said they had four semi trucks filled with supplies arrive Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday morning, workers at the EOC could be seen unloading boxes of gowns, masks, gloves, thermometers and plastic shields sent over by the state and private vendors. They shot video to show the process. Now their job is to get it out to the people who need them most.

“We are allocating these supplies to assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health care agencies that have requested it,” said Seminole County EOC logistics chief Aaron Funk. “We are prioritizing it based on critical need. So these are the facilities that have indicated to us they are out of personal protective items, or will be out in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

On Monday, the owner of Queen Elaine’s Assisted Living Facility in Casselberry gave News 6 a virtual tour of the supplies she was running out of - namely gloves and hand sanitizers. Hours after our story aired, she said she got calls from people willing to donate their gloves and paper products.

Watts says she did not receive a call or email about when she could come get the newly shipped supplies.

However, a spokesperson with the Seminole County Government said their log shows there had been multiple contacts with Queen Elaine’s owner.

Those include an email on March 20 with a request from Queen Elaine owner Lana Watts, where she stated she had been able to get gloves and masks on her own. And then an email from EOC Logistics confirming receipt of the request and explaining the supply shortage. There was also a follow up update and phone call made on March 24.

“We’re here trying to protect our seniors,” Watts said. “The Agency for Health Care Administration is stating we should be entering with masks, we don’t have access to masks. So how can we abide by these policies and procedures if we don’t have the equipment available to us?”

Funk said those masks are coming but they have a process for meeting the need at all the elder care facilities.

“We are either completely filling those orders, or at least giving a partial fill,” Funk said. “So those agencies are not going to be out of personal protective equipment.”

Funk said the EOC team then calls the facilities, and either arranges a pickup or drop off and has the facility works sign off on exactly how many items they received.

“We have more shipments of inventory coming in today,” Funk said. “And we are expecting to contact more facilities and let them know they can come by and pick up their supplies.”

Supplies ordered by the governor are expected to keep coming in throughout the week in Seminole County and across Florida.

Anyone with a nursing home, assisted living facility, home health care or hospital group in need of PPE supplies, you are urged to contact the emergency management team in your county to arrange for when you can get those items.