ST. CLOUD -- The supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers continues to be a concern locally, statewide and on a national level.

In an update to the Stearns County Board of Commissioners Monday, Emergency Management Director Erin Tufte says we have a good cache of supplies at the moment, thanks in part, to community donations. But, she says if their inventory runs low they have a tiered-approach to getting the necessary supplies...

So if we exhaust the resources we have on hand at the department level or the county level, we then move on to the Healthcare Coalition.  We then ask the Healthcare Coalition for that supply whether that be surgical masks or N95 respirators...to say here's where our need is.  If they can't fill those requests or don't have the supply, at that point we move up to the state.

Tufte says they are also training healthcare workers and other frontline employees on when to use the protective equipment and when it isn't necessary to ensure the equipment isn't being used unnecessarily.

Public Health Division Director Renee Frauendienst says the supplies are always going to be a concern and they appreciate the support from the community in donating supplies.

Residents who would like to donate are asked to call the Stearns/Benton County coronavirus hotline at 320-656-6625 or 1-877-782-5683, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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