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Oregon Unions Combat Coronavirus with Protective Gear Donations

The Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers has volunteered to donate their supply of N-95 protective masks to the Oregon Health Authority amid increasing reports of a critical shortage of personal protective gear for frontline nurses and health care providers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak. “We’re proud that we are able to make this donation, no matter how small, to help support nurses and health care workers on the frontlines treating our family members, neighbors, and friends. We implore other unions, contractors, and trade associations that have any unused protective equipment available to urgently do the same. It’s critical that we do whatever we can to make the health of all Oregonians our collective urgent priority during this time,” said Jeff Gritz, Secretary-Treasurer of the Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers. As coronavirus continues to spread, Oregon is quickly running out of personal protective equipment (PPE) including surgical masks, gowns, face shields, and gloves, with no significant resupply in sight. As a result, nurses and allied health care workers are being forced to reuse gear meant for single-use or go without, risking exposing themselves and other patients to the virus. The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA)--a fellow union leader--has been advocating for more equipment, protections, and resources for nurses and other frontline health care providers for weeks. “The situation is dire throughout Oregon. If nurses and health care workers aren’t protected, patients aren’t safe. Thank you to our union siblings at the Oregon and Southern Idaho District Council of Laborers for donating N-95 masks, which are critical to protecting Oregon’s frontline health care workers and their patients. Even small donations can make a difference and help fill the gap we're already experiencing. We hope other unions, industries, and companies will follow the Laborers’ lead so we can weather this crisis together,” said Kevin Mealy, spokesperson for the Oregon Nurses Association. Although President Trump released a current stockpile of supplies to be sold and invoked the Defense Production Act which allows the federal government to order American industry to produce critically-needed medical equipment, like ventilators, respirators, and other protective gear--donations can help bridge the gap and address immediate shortages. Governor Brown has also followed this up with Executive Actions to cancel non-emergency procedures in order to free up personal protective equipment (PPE). Immediate PPE needs include N-95 and N-100 face masks, eye protection, protective suits, and gloves. New PPE are being collected in Salem. They will be added to the state’s cache for COVID-19 preparedness. Once the PPE are received, they will be inspected, inventoried, and distributed throughout the state to be used by medical professionals working with COVID-19 patients. You can mail in or drop off PPE to donate at:

ATTN: PPE Coordinator Dept. of Corrections 3601 State Street Salem, OR, 97301

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