DeForest resident and Waunakee native Jamie Adams is one of nine Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) employees working to get personal protective equipment (PPE) in the hands of Wisconsin medical personnel on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The nine came to the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) at the Department of Military Affairs in Madison late last month to join staff from several state agencies forming a PPE triage team. The team processes offers coming into the SEOC from businesses and individuals stepping up to help fill critical shortages caused by the pandemic.
“When we first came to the SEOC a few weeks ago, we knew we were running against the clock and needed to build every efficiency possible into this process,” said Adams who co-leads a group doing initial intake and vetting of offers coming into the SEOC. “Now with the computer systems and people in place to process offers, we are getting PPE out to the healthcare workers and emergency first responders who need it.”
Offers are a mix of donations, proposals to sell and manufacturers willing to retool their production lines to make PPE. The PPE triage team has processed several offers so far, but the demand continues. The biggest needs are for gloves, foot coverings, thermometers, Tyvek coveralls, face shields, isolation gowns, face-surgical masks and N-95 particulate respirators.
Demand is constantly changing, but Adams says they are always adjusting to meet new needs.
“We keep an eye on offers coming in and continue to coordinate with operations and logistics to get equipment in and right back out to wherever it’s needed.”
Once Adams’ group completes its initial vetting, approved offers are sent to the procurement team for further vetting. The multilayered review is necessary to weed out an increasing number of individuals impersonating real businesses and using other means to take advantage of the current situation.
Once an offer is approved and any purchasing requirements completed, the PPE is shipped to a central warehouse. At the warehouse, staff inspect the PPE before shipping it to locations throughout the state for circulation. They expedite smaller PPE offers—for example, 20 or fewer boxes of gloves—by directly connecting donators with healthcare providers and emergency personnel near them. Bypassing the warehouse and fast-tracking these deliveries means PPE gets into the right hands sooner, which is especially critical as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise.
Anyone with PPE to donate, sell or manufacturers able to modify their production lines to make PPE can contact the EOC at the COVID-19 Supply & Resources Offers website.