Mahoning emergency agency scales back operations

YOUNGSTOWN — With confidence that hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities were obtaining personal protective equipment successfully on their own, the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency scaled back its operation of the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center in late May.

The state actually stopped sending personal protective equipment to counties at one point, but when cases started to climb again, the state “quickly picked that back up again,” said Dennis O’Hara, the county’s EMA director.

So Mahoning County’s Emergency Operations Center continues to receive PPE from the state and distributes it to hospitals, health care centers, long-term care facilities and first responders, he said.

O’Hara, who is commander of the Emergency Operations Center, said the center continues to operate on a much more limited basis than when it was created at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We’re predominantly working with the long-term care facilities, as they have been impacted the most,” O’Hara said. “As we receive stuff, we continue to move it out.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mahoning EMA has distributed 700,000 pieces of PPE.

He said Mahoning County EMA continues to stay in contact with first responders, such as the sheriff’s office.

“We want to make sure that we are well stocked to our facilities that need it — certainly the county, especially the sheriff’s office,” O’Hara said.



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