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Local officials trying to cover lapses in hospital supply chains

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) - Johnson County hospitals say they're running low on protective equipment needed to safely test people for the deadly novel coronavirus.

Mercy Iowa City has tested 116 people to date for the virus, each one requiring masks, aprons and face shields.

"We are not receiving the full orders we would like to receive on a weekly basis and some orders have been delayed and I think this is true for every hospital in the country," Margaret Reese said, president of the hospital's foundation.

Reese says they've gotten a steady stream of over 700 donations of equipment from the public and local businesses but it still may not be enough.

Johnson County officials believe they were prepared, able to push out around 2,500 masks to local facilities to cover at least some of that demand.

"We have provided gowns, bleach, face shields to any number of businesses from nursing homes to ambulance services; anyone that has direct patient contact," Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Wilson said at a Friday news conference.

Wilson said they don't think it's necessary yet but they have started discussing where to install mass testing facilities or emergency shelters, one option being the county fair grounds.

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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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