County Announces Funds For Personal Protective Equipment, Small Businesses

Personal protective equipment includes masks, gowns, and gloves. [Natale Zanardi / Shutterstock]
Personal protective equipment includes masks, gowns, and gloves. [Natale Zanardi / Shutterstock]

Cuyahoga County announced Friday a program to buy personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced the county is putting aside $1 million to buy equipment like masks for hospitals, caregivers, and first responders who need it.

The shortage of PPE equipment has made buying difficult for everyone, but the county was able to place an order for 100,000 N95 respirator masks this week, and Budish says they have some promising leads that could result in more equipment.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what’s going on when you watch the national news, what’s going on in the hospitals of those other cities and countries,” Budish said. “We can’t let that happen here, and we won’t let that happen here.”

Health care workers are already at a greater risk of becoming infected. The county announced new COVID-19 data, and 26 percent of the 204 confirmed cases under Cuyahoga County's jurisdiction are health care workers (county data does not include cases from the city of Cleveland).

The county also announced the Small Business Stabilization Fund, which will provide money for small businesses impacted by coronavirus closures to receive loans and grants.

Budish announced the $3 million fund, which will come from county money, donations from the nonprofit Economic and Community Development Institute, and other community partners.

"When a small business closes, when small businesses die, it's almost impossible to revive them,” Budish said. “So we have to do everything we can to keep these small businesses alive."

Some small businesses will qualify for state and federal money, but Budish said this money will be a way for businesses to get money faster. He also said not all local businesses will qualify for the federal dollars, so this is an alternative resource.

The details about which businesses will be eligible are still being decided, but more information will be announced April 3. A web page on the county’s website will be available on that day.

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