Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Missouri Governor Mike Parson on Thursday tweeted a photo of a new shipment of personal protective equipment that arrived to the state. It includes surgical masks, gloves, gowns and face shields.

But the demand is outpacing the supply because healthcare workers are using them at a faster rate than normal; and that’s leaving the residents of Troy, Missouri to step up to help first responders.

Lincoln County announced its first case of coronavirus Thursday, proving why now more than ever, healthcare workers in the county must have this protective equipment.

The Lincoln County Ambulance District is making sure all its trucks have an ample supply of personal protection equipment. Out of an abundance of caution, crews are using them on themselves and patients more now because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're the first ones through the door, so we need these masks right up front," said Chief Ray Antonacci with the Lincoln County Ambulance District.

Last week the state shipped the ambulance district a supply of masks. But it was only half of what was requested, so the chief has been looking for other types of masks that could still provide protection.

That’s why they started getting donations from the community this week, sometimes while an ambulance crew was out on a run.

On Thursday, a local fabrication company that's shut down right now, knew these first responders were short on supplies and stepped up to help.

"He brought in a bunch of stuff,” Antonacci said. “Some suits, Tyvek suits, a box of masks and some gloves that they're not using right now while they're down.”

“So a lot of them are what would be called ‘off label.’ They're not necessarily made for medical purposes, they're made for industrial purposes. But they'll do the job during a global pandemic."

Besides the masks, the fire district is using ultraviolet lights inside ambulances to kill bacteria and any viruses. That, in addition to wiping down the surfaces inside the ambulances.

Antonacci said he's very grateful for the donations but could use even more. You can drop it by one of the stations or call the chief at the administrative offices.

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