EL PASO COUNTY — A cache of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is coming together at the El Paso County Regional Office of Emergency Management. “COVID is still on-going. It has not slowed,” said Emergency Management Director Jim Reid.
The stockpiling is funded through federal CARES Act dollars. $150,000 split between El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs grants.
PPE was quickly hard to find in the early days of the pandemic. It is now more readily available. Despite that, Reid says stockpiling is a good idea. "When there's an immediate need you're already too late. You're behind the power curve. So, the goal is to try and stay ahead of that."
A concern is what will happen when winter conditions arrive, and people are less likely to spend time outside. "We're going to get cold weather. People are going to go inside. Your heaters are going to be blowing, your windows are going to be shut and you've basically created an environment that's pretty much enclosed," said Reid. It is a scenario that could lead to a spike in COVID cases. Reid says considering possible worst-case scenarios is the job of emergency managers.
The cache is coming together for more than the immediate threat. The Office of Emergency Management has always had PPE in reserve. The pandemic has shown there needs to be a larger stockpile.