Oregon leaders, workers want fed help for masks, testing


Frontline workers also joined the call for help

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon leaders at the state and federal level along with employers and union members held press briefing at 10 a.m. Monday to reinforce the need for an increased supply of personal protective equipment in the state.

Healthcare workers and emergency responders have been sounding the alarm about shortages of supplies for weeks. With mid-April expected to see a rise in cases — the governor and state lawmakers are trying to get workers what they need.

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Monday morning, we heard from Governor Kate Brown, Senator Jeff Merkely, Representative Suzanne Bonamici among frontline workers and employers in Oregon.

During the virtual meeting, they said they’re calling on the Trump administration to immediately distribute masks and equipment held in the strategic national stockpile. They are also calling on the administration to identify reserves of masks and equipment in other industries, like construction, and getting them to frontline workers.

The Oregon leaders want the federal government to use all its powers to speed the production and distribution of new equipment to frontline workers, as well as making sure those workers can be easily tested to help quell the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Healthcare employers went on to say that their workers put their lives on the line, and are calling on the Trump administration, corporations and industry employers to enact immediate common sense solutions to increase the supply of personal protective gear.

Since the governor made a request for donations, dentists across Oregon have donated 60,000 masks and 600,000 gloves, gowns and face shields. Plus, 300,000 donations have come from the private sector which has been great progress — but still not enough for everyone on the front lines.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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