Mahoning EMA set to scale back work on virus

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County EMA Director Dennis O’Hara told county commissioners that personal protective equipment used by those battling the COVID-19 pandemic is now easier for hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities to get on their own.

As a result, O’Hara, who has spent the last couple of months helping those entities acquire such equipment, said it’s time to shift his focus back to normal Emergency Management Agency tasks and “scale back” his role as a commander with the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

O’Hara said he will remain in contact with hospitals and health departments, but the Emergency Operations Center will no longer be fully activated.

The Emergency Operations Center includes O’Hara in joint command with the health directors for Mahoning County Public Health and the Youngstown Health Department. It also includes representatives from the hospitals, police and fire departments and others.

The EOC held meetings every day early in the pandemic but later reduced that to three times per week. With the demobilizing of the EOC, there no longer will be weekly meetings, Ryan Tekac, health commissioner for Mahoning County Public Health, said.

Acquiring PPE has been O’Hara’s main job during the pandemic, but it was also the main task for the EOC, said

The final type of equipment that was hard to get was gowns, but that obstacle has now also been overcome. Mahoning EMA is now distributing gowns to area hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities, O’Hara said.

The facilities needing PPE are now able to get it directly, O’Hara said.

Over the course of the last few months, O’Hara said, Mahoning EMA has been able to provide these items to hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, first responders, law enforcement and dental offices:

l 2,400 boxes of gloves;

l 45,000 N-95 masks;


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