SALT LAKE CITY – Workers and volunteers are extremely busy at the Salt Palace as they sort and ship life-saving gear across the state. They’re getting a lot of advice from a state agency that many people may not have expected.
Fridays are usually one of the busiest days for workers and volunteers inside the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City. They’re not preparing for any big show, though. They’re sorting thousands of boxes filled with millions of pieces of personal protective equipment.
Many of these items had to go a long way to get to Utah. Michael Glenn with the Utah Division of Purchasing and General Services says they ordered a large number of these life-saving things more than a month ago, and he believes the state was able to get a good deal on them.
Glenn says, “We were doing the due diligence upfront to make sure that we’re getting the right vendors and the price gouging isn’t happening. We feel really good about what the state of Utah was able to procure, and what it was able to get it at.”
State officials are giving these things to industries all over the state, but they’re prioritizing delivery to hospitals, health care workers and health departments. Other items will go to emergency responders, city governments and tribal leaders.
Plus, the state is running the Small Business PPE Push Pack Program, which gives the life-saving equipment to companies with no more than 50 employees that have registered with the state. Glenn says they want to help these business owners be ready to reopen their stores.
“We know we had a hard time sourcing PPE, so we want to help set everyone on the right foot,” Glenn says.
It’s one thing to bring the life-saving equipment, but, how do you deliver it to remote areas of Utah. Glenn says they needed to use an agency that already knew the most effective ways to warehouse and ship thousands of boxes all over the state. So, they turned to the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control which already had this kind of delivery system in place.
“That knowledge and experience of having a shipping network and a warehouse network gives us, at least, a leg up. We don’t have to start from scratch,” according to DABC Spokesman Terry Wood.
In the beginning, Wood says boxes of masks, hand sanitizer, gloves face shields and booties were on the same trucks as the rum, tequila, merlot and peppermint schnapps.
“All we have to do is put these on our trucks that are going out to, say, Kanab, Price St. George or wherever. They’re riding along with the freight. Caught a ride on the stagecoach, so to speak,” Wood says.
State officials say they purchased the gear in anticipation of another surge in COVID-19 cases, and they’re optimistic about the amount of PPE they’ll have ready if it’s needed.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information:
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707