Clackamas County farmworkers receive free PPE to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

PHOTO COURTESY: KIMBERLY JACOBSEN - Personal protection equipment was available in Oregon City at no cost to the agricultural community, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.Oregon State University's Extension Service in Clackamas County served as one of the distribution sites for approximately 1 million KN95 masks and 5,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to farmworkers on Wednesday, May 27.

Attendees were glad they will be ready when Oregon's stricter farm-operations rules go into effect June 1.

Gov. Kate Brown directed statewide distribution of personal protection equipment, available at no cost to the agricultural community, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Limited supplies will be provided at each site in Oregon until supplies are fully distributed.

Clackamas Extension and its partners supported 150 farm owners/labor contractors with over 70,000 KN95 masks and 80 cases (1,666 24-ounce bottles) of hand sanitizer. About 100 people lined up during the first hour and a half of the giveaway. OSU Extension finished the day taking the last supplies to Clackamas County's emergency operation center for the county's use.

The goal of the project was to support essential agricultural and seasonal workers throughout the harvest season, ensuring their safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

"From my perspective, this is a success," said Jonathan Sandau of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. "We appreciate the partnership and support from the OSU extension and the Oregon National Guard."

Extension staff and volunteers also distributed a high-speed hand-washing poster designed by OSU to illustrate how groups of 20 to 30 people can get their hands washed properly in 5 minutes or less. 

PHOTO COURTESY: KIMBERLY JACOBSEN - Oregon National Guard members distributed masks and hand sanitizer to Clackamas County farmworkers on May 27.The PPE distribution effort was a collaboration among the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon State University, Oregon's Office of Emergency Management, the Oregon National Guard and county partners.

Since March, the Oregon National Guard has mobilized more than 200 Guardsmen to help support the COVID-19 response.

"The Oregon National Guard is so proud to do our part to ensure the safety of essential workers," said Oregon Army National Guard Land Component commander Brig. Gen. William Prendergast IV. "We are here to help the Oregon Department of Agriculture. It's definitely a partnership. We are all truly in this together."

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