CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department tells me she expects to see a peak in two to four weeks … but the state’s supply of personal protective equipment, or PPE, right now will barely make it halfway to that point.
“They have a week maybe two weeks of supplies going into what is going to be a terrible epidemic and it is going to get much worse as we go forward,” Young says.
This is a state-wide challenge that Senator Joe Manchin is working to change.
“Manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford are going to start making respirators and ventilators, we have been talking to different people throughout the state, talked to proctor and gamble today, they are starting basically to have sanitize … changing some of their lines over to making sanitizers,” Manchin said in a town-hall video conference on Tuesday.
Young says one of the issues with supplies is that residents are essentially wasting them. Wearing things like masks and gloves into the grocery store when Young says, not only will this not keep you from getting the virus, it’s hurting the community at the same time.
“Going to the grocery store in gloves is not going to prevent that epidemic … if it was beneficial, we would tell people it’s beneficial and they should use it. In this circumstance, not only is it not proven to be beneficial but it is also something other people really need to keep our communities safe,” she tells 13 News.
Another bad trend are PPE being tossed in parking lots and grocery carts, creating a bigger risk.
“That is just spreading disease that is absolutely just bad practice period with or without COVID that is just bad protocol,” she says.
Young adds social distancing and washing your hands before and after grocery runs is still best practice.
Learn more about how The West Virginia Mask Army works to help first responders get much needed PPE.