Central Florida first responders ‘dangerously low’ on PPE, Florida representatives tell governor

Orlando police, fire supplies will be depleted in weeks

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two U.S Representatives from Florida wrote a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis urging him to send needed supplies to Central Florida first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus.

Medical workers and first responders are some of the most at risk for contracting the coronavirus but some of counties in Central Florida are not getting enough personal protective equipment.

Orange County Major Jerry Demings says so far they’ve received only small quantities and he is now calling on local companies to help fill the need.

“We have placed large quantity orders to the state but we receive PPE supplies in small shipments,” Demings said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The competition has been so stiff that Democratic U.S Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy alerted Desantis in a letter, telling him that Central Florida’s first responders are in urgent need PPE.

They added that Orlando police and fire departments’ supplies of masks and gowns will be depleted “in the next week or two weeks.”

Demings said as orders come in distribution is prioritized, “to long term care, hospitals, public safety workers and other first responders.”

Other Central Florida counties are struggling, too.

A spokesperson for Lake County said they requested PPE from the state, however the state was “unable to fulfill” the order.

The took matters into their own hands and got what they needed through “aggressive and diligent procurement and paid out of our budget,” a spokesperson said in an email.

Marion County is also taking on acquiring PPE on its own.

"We are making masks in our own jail and have the materials to make up to 40,000 of them," a spokesperson wrote in an email.

Demings is looking for ways to fill the gap.

“We are very interested in local manufacturing firms who can help in producing PPE and products, such as hand sanitizer,” Demings said.

Many agencies have said they are open to donations.

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