SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Governor Charlie Baker announced an emergency response team and allocates $10 million to support the production of personal protective equipment or PPE.

Western Mass News spoke with the President of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Donna Kelly-Williams.

She said that nurses all over the Bay State need PPE badly.

Governor Charlie Baker on Monday announcing the amount of PPE gear that’s already at health care facilities.

"That includes 360,000 Kraft mask, over 700,000 masks, over 160,000 gowns almost two million gloves," Baker explained.

Of those numbers here are the percentages that went to western Mass.

Of the state’s N95 masks, 21% has been distributed to the area and for N95 masks donated by Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, western Mass received 16%.

Surgical medical masks are at 16% and gowns are 15 and gloves 9%.

To break down the total numbers for you, that’s more than 24,000 N95 masks.

More than 60,00 masks from Kraft, 114,000 surgical masks, 25,000 gowns, and almost 181,000 gloves.

Kelly-Williams told Western Mass News that nurses need even more PPE in healthcare facilities.

"I hear from nurses every day asking for us to provide them the PPE they so desperately need," Kelly-Williams said.

Gov.Baker’s new initiative to support manufacturers’ efforts to switch production operations for PPE.

He’s calling it the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT).

Kelly-Williams said nurses can use all the equipment they can get, as they’re catching the virus from patients who have it looking for care.

"Anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of the healthcare workforce is testing positive. This means that if a healthcare provider tests positive for the COVID-19 at the bare minimum, they're going to be away from the patients for 14 days," Kelly-Williams explained.

There is specific equipment Kelly-Williams said nurses need.

"New N95 masks. We need to face shields. We need eye goggles, we head coverings, we need gowns to go over scrubs. That should be provided by the facility and we need shoe coverings as well," Kelly-Williams noted.

On top of the funding, some of the assistance MERT will offer to manufacturers include:

  • Understanding what PPE and COVID-19 related materials are of the highest priority to produce.
  • Regulatory compliance, including insight into FDA guidance.
  • Addressing specifications and testing that is necessary, and identifying in-state test centers.

Western Mass News will continue to follow developments for PPE distribution.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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