KLICKITAT COUNTY – The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Liaison Officer in partnership with Klickitat County Washington State University (WSU) Extension Director Hannah Brause worked extra hours during our recent hazardous air quality conditions to procure additional personal protective equipment for those suffering from breathing problems and for those essential employees working in the dangerous environment due to the high level of wildfire smoke in the area. Not just any mask will help when it comes to breathing during such extreme air quality conditions. The type of mask required in those situations are the N95 and KN95.
These masks have been in high demand for those in the medical field since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and are unavailable to the general public.
Recognizing the health emergency that the smoke was causing, the EOC and the WSU Extension was able to work with the State EOC to obtain and distribute 1,000 KN95’s to the local medical providers (500 to Klickitat Valley Health, 450 to Skyline Health and 50 to Northshore Medical) and an additional 340 to the Public Health Department so they were available to those county residents who presented with breathing problems.
Furthermore, we are in the prime time for agricultural harvesting and that presented a very high risk for the agriculture community. An additional 4,350 KN95 masks, and 700 gallons of hand sanitizer was also obtained through a partnership with the WA Farm Bureau. This distribution is going straight to our food supply for locally grown food and we are all thankful to have been able to get these essential workers the supplies needed to keep them safe and healthy. Since the beginning of COVID-19 the EOC and Klickitat Public Health has worked hard to get the Klickitat County agriculture community the information needed through translated presentations, PPE for workers and reviewing of plans to keep the workers safe with alternative working conditions to meet the COVID-19 health precautions. In the past month alone, over 5,000 cloth masks have been distributed to the Ag communities in our county.
Cloth masks are still available in our county and being distributed to the public through the community partners of Public Health, WAGAP, WSU Extension, Programs for Peaceful Living and other local community offices. The EOC is continuing to work hard and keep the needed supplies in our community for your protection. Thank you all for doing your part and limiting your chances of exposure through physical distancing measures and face coverings.