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PPE drop-off site to close May 15

Jackson County’s donation drop-off site for personal protective equipment will close Friday, but residents can still call the county operations center to arrange for donation pickups.

The drop-off site at the Expo in Central Point opened March 22, due to critical shortages of equipment such as disposable gloves, N95 masks, gowns and face shields.

Many hospitals and first responders were either low on supplies or out entirely, said county Roads and Parks Director John Vial, who is also director of the Emergency Operations Center at the Expo.

“Everybody just sold out, and manufacturers couldn’t make it fast enough,” Vial said. “We said, ‘Let’s see if we can get some stuff from the community.’”

Nearly two months after the center opened, supply chains for the equipment have been bolstered. “We’re simply getting more PPE out of the state,” Vial said.

Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center and Providence Medford Medical Center both had 30-day supplies of PPE as of Monday, hospital officials said.

Jackson County passed another day Monday without a new COVID-19 case, the 17th consecutive day without a new case of the illness. There have been 49 confirmed cases in Jackson County. As of May 6, 40 of those patients had recovered.

Asante spokeswoman Lauren Van Sickle said RRMC has been utilizing several strategies to make sure hospital supply rooms stay full, including use of reusable gowns made by local manufacturer Bioskin — each gown is cleaned locally and can be used 50 times — and bulk buys of gowns made overseas.

Providence spokeswoman Julie Denney said the hospital system can reallocate supplies to specific facilities, depending on need.

The county will continue to accept community donations, but with a different methodology. Anyone wanting to donate should call 541-774-8274 and arrange to have the items picked up.

There is still a need for supplies, but the primary demand has shifted from hospitals to entities such as longterm care facilities, homeless shelters and local businesses. There has also been an uptick in requests for nonmedical supplies such as cloth masks.

“Now the problem has continued to expand because more and more people have been asked to wear PPE outside,” Vial said. “Employers are asking their employees to wear PPE. There is still a fairly high demand for these materials.”

Hospitals also accept donations directly. Providence said nonmedical or cloth masks are now in higher demand, as they can be distributed to incoming patients.

“That will help us preserve the medical PPE,” Denney said.

Anyone wanting to donate to Providence can call 541-732-5179, she said. Donations can be dropped off at the receiving dock of Providence Medford Medical Center, 1111 Crater Lake Ave., located behind the hospital.

Asante donations can be accepted at the Asante Foundation building, 229 N. Bartlett Ave., Medford, or on the Southern Oregon University campus at the Lithia Motors Pavilion, 1465 Webster St., Ashland.

“We are always happy and willing to take mask donations, because we want to make sure we have adequate supplies should there be a surge,” Van Sickle said.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.