The Transylvania Times -

By Alex Perri
Staff Writer 

Official Notes Glove, Mask Shortages - Brevard NC

 

Last updated 3/19/2020 at 10:10pm



Supermarket shelves are bare in some places, and local restaurants are feeling the impacts of coronavirus preparedness in the county, but the most concerning of any shortages in the community are at area hospitals and health care providers.

“There are providers that are experiencing shortages of personal protective equipment,” said Tara Rybka, public information officer with Transylvania Public Health. “Things like gloves and masks and face shields.

“Their vendors are not able to ship those items and our health care providers need to be able to wear those.”

According to Rybka, this equipment is essential for health care professionals to safely collect patient samples for coronavirus testing, especially high-level respirators and facemasks like the N-95 respirator mask.

As far as supermarket shortages, Rybka said folks should be cautious of overbuying certain items that may cause more vulnerable members of the community to put themselves at risk.

“There was some CDC advice for folks who are at high risk and who will need to stay home for a while to make sure that they have an adequate supply of what they need, so that they don’t have to go out once illness is circulating in the community,” she said. “Folks who are sick… they need to have what they need at home so they don’t have to go out and get things.”

Rybka said there is no need to stockpile, for example, six months of medication, but she said an extra month or two isn’t a bad idea.

“It’s kind of striking that balance there between going so overboard, so that other people can’t get the supplies they need and risking running out yourself and needing something that you don’t have access to,” she said. “Or, you’re putting yourself or other people at risk by going out to get those items.”

Locally, most stores and pharmacies are exper-iencing shortages of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

“We already have shortages,” said a CVS Pharmacy employee Thurs-day. “We’re completely out of hand sanitizer. I am rationing the rubbing alcohol.

“We are completely out of masks. I know that we are very close to being out of gloves and we are almost out of Lysol wipes and things like that. They sent us a little bit (of hand sanitizer) this week.

“We sold it all pretty fast. I was only doing one per person. And it still went really, really fast, and they only sent us the little travel size. And they only sent us way less than they did last week.”

Brevard Dollar General Manager Eric Hemphill said hand sanitizer and ingredients to make a homemade version are selling fast.

“All percentages of alcohols, aloe vera, hand sanitizer and toilet tissue are going off the shelf like crazy,” he said. “If I find hand sanitizer while working the truck and put it out, it’s gone within 40 minutes. We’re out of a lot of brands of toilet tissue, of all hand sanitizers right now, and by the end of the day, I’m guessing we’ll be out of rubbing alcohol as well.”

Several local supermarkets declined to comment on how coronavirus preparedness has impacted their stores, but Facebook posts on We Are Brevard show people commenting that Walmart, Food Lion, BI-LO and Ingles were all out of toilet paper at some time last week.

A Walmart employee confirmed the store had been out of hand sanitizer and face masks for weeks before refusing to speak to the press on Thursday.

Restaurants too are just beginning to feel the impacts of virus prevention measures and several are offering curbside pick up of orders and are upping their sanitizing standards to try and keep business steady while people are practicing social distancing.

“We’re definitely seeing it, and we’ve really started to see it over the last day or two when they started canceling everything,” said Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop manager Adam Perkins, last week. “There’s just not people out and about in town. I mean its 2:30 p.m. right now and there’s not a soul in the restaurant.

“We’re taking all the precautions we can. We’ve pulled anything on tables that guests could touch or be exposed to, and we’re sanitizing all of that with a safe bleach solution, cleaning menus, just trying to stop or contain it any way we can.”

Mayberry’s Manager Jake Jackson said it was difficult to tell if slow business was a result of the virus or just typical off-season business.

“We’re a little slow,” he said. “We haven’t seen much of an impact. We’ve released a couple of Facebook posts letting people know that we are taking a few precautions, making sure everything is ever more so wiped down a higher number of times a day.

“But beyond that, I’m not sure if it’s because we’re just so far removed from large metropolitan areas. I think people are still in the mentality of, ‘Well, we live up in the mountains away from everything. It won’t hit us.’ And here’s hoping it maintains that, but in the short term, anyway, we haven’t seen much of an impact.”

Some local businesses, however, are seeing an uptick in business in lieu of the coronavirus.

On Friday, at the Transylvania Natural Resources Council meeting, Dan Hodges from White Squirrel Realty and Rental Property Management said nearly all of his short-term rental properties are booked up.

“In the last two-and-half weeks since this coronavirus thing started, when I left the office last evening, I think we have two properties left,” he said. “Everything has been completely booked out for the next month or so for our short-term rentals, which isn’t normal for March. I actually personally talked to one particular guy who called in a couple of days ago and he’s from Charleston. They want to come up here stay about three to four weeks throughout this coronavirus thing. And the whole purpose in coming here…is because he doesn’t want to be in Charleston.

“He’d much rather be here. And, so, for whatever that’s worth, we are a destination for a lot of people in a lot of places.”

 
 

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