DC mayor says PPEs are being reserved for front-line responders

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser began her coronavirus response briefing on Thursday by offering condolences to the family of Kenneth Moore – a 16-year veteran of the Youth and Rehabilitation Services Department who died this week from the coronavirus.

The mayor also addressed the question of whether District workers had enough personal protection equipment.

When she was asked whether there was a shortage of PPEs, the mayor said, “I have explained what we need to do in our city is make sure we have enough supplies for our first responders and our medical staff and that is exactly what we have done we are also trying to secure the surgical masks for all of our front line workers no matter if they are first responders but if they are providing essential services.”

According to a letter sent to the entire staff in the Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services, there aren’t enough PPEs to go around.

The letter – obtained by FOX 5 – was written by Medical Director Khandra Tyler Baynum:

"We will no longer provide face masks and gloves for routine use by all staff.”

It goes on to say that the PPEs will be given to staff working in isolation, quarantine, and intake.

The mayor told FOX 5 that she was unaware of the letter and the new directive.

In response to the question of availability, however, the mayor said the city is providing PPEs to first-line responders and medical staff, but there is a shortage and when they are able to get the items back in stock, they will be distributed. She did not have a timeline for when that would be.

FOX 5 also obtained a document showing the procedures police are now following when it comes to officers’ health.

Before roll call, officials are putting on surgical masks and gloves and using a thermometer to check the temperature of each officer.

If it is 100 or above, the officer is sent home.