Ohio Distributes Large PPE Shipment, $16M for Criminal Justice Services

Updated, 8:17 a.m., April 30 | Battelle N95 sanitizing numbers
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Last week, the state shipped 4.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment to emergency management agencies, “and there is more coming,” said Gov. Mike DeWine.

“While not the first shipment, this is the largest one-time distribution in the history of Ohio,” DeWine said during Wednesday’s briefing.

The shipment included 500,000 N95 respirator masks, 850,000 face shields, 750,000 surgical masks and 2 million nonmedical gloves. Emergency management agencies, or EMAs, are working to distribute them to hospitals, prisons, first responders, congregate sites, senior living communities and other front-line organizations dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, DeWine said.

DeWine reiterated the difficulty in acquiring personal protective equipment in a “volatile” marketplace where supply is limited and Ohio is competing with other states. The administration is working daily to acquire more and will “distribute PPE to the local EMAs when we get it in,” he said.

If the state cannot acquire the equipment, “We’re going to see if it can be made in Ohio,” DeWine said, commending companies like Roe Dental and Thermo Fisher Scientific, who are working to increase the state’s testing capacity. He also commended Battelle Memorial Institute’s efforts to sanitize N95 respirator masks so they can be reused by health care providers and first responders.

To date, Battelle has 730 agreements with health-care providers and first responders in Ohio, and has processed 118,489 N95 respirators at its Central Ohio location, according to the company.

“This response has really strengthened our ability to protect our protectors,” DeWine said.

The Office of Criminal Justice Services also received $16 million in grants through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act and is ready to accept funding applications from state law enforcement offices, probation and parole offices, courts, victims services providers and juvenile correction agencies, DeWine said.

The funds can be used to purchase cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as pay for overtime costs, new technology for virtual court hearings, inmate medical needs, and supplies for monitoring and testing of COVID-19.

“We know that this funding will be especially useful for victim services agencies,” including those that serve survivors of domestic violence, DeWine said. The funds can be used to pay for alternative housing solutions, such as hotels, for survivors of domestic violence who need to be quarantined away from their homes.

Agencies may apply for up to 12 months of funding. No local match is required and the governor recommended agencies apply as soon as possible because the money may run out.

“Due to the unique nature of COVID-19, OCJS has not set a deadline for funding requests. And there’s no cap,” he said.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.