Joe Cunningham working to protect those on the front lines of Coronavirus pandemic

South Carolina News

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Representative Joe Cunningham is among a group of bipartisan lawmakers fighting to ensure health care workers, first responders, and others who may be forced to come in contact with COVID-19, have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

In a letter sent to house leadership, the lawmakers acknowledged that local funds would be insufficient to purchase the necessary amount of PPE. Therefore, they called for “the creation of a direct reimbursement program for state and local governments, public safety agencies, volunteer fire and EMS departments, healthcare organizations and affiliated entities that purchase PPE for this public health crisis.”

The letter also acknowledged the Defense Production Act- which is expected to increase PPE supplies in the near future- but cautioned that critical shortages already exist in many areas, and “there is no time to waste”

The lawmakers reasoned that procuring the necessary quantities of PPE now would save not only lives, but also money in the long term.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers some reimbursement programs, more drastic measures are needed on the federal level to supplement and expedite the funds.

The letter concluded by urging House leadership to “stay ahead of the problem, and protect the heroes who are already being exposed to the virus every day without enough protection.”

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