Scrambling to keep up with PPE demand

By: Dave Bohman
Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 06, 2021and last updated 5:30 PM, Aug 06, 2021


BOCA RATON, Fla. — The demand for much of the personal protection equipment (PPE) fell this spring as COVID-19 cases declined, more people got vaccinated, and cities and states ended mask mandates.

But the need for PPE now is similar to where it was at the pandemic’s beginning.

Medical equipment distributor Nick Pape ships out what hospitals and medical clinics need.

“We have everything from needles to syringes,” said Pape, the owner of 360 Health in Boca Raton as she showed some of the PPE and other medical devices that are in demand during the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

“These are all swab kits,” he said.

The staff at 360 Health works overtime to make sure its supply of equipment at warehouses in five states get to hospitals and clinics that need them.

Getting the highly protective masks to front line workers is a challenge.

According to the trade group, the American Mask Manufacturers Association, production of these protective equipment slowed this spring, largely because COVID-19 cases declined, more people got vaccinated, and cities and states ended mask mandates.

But Pape said for now, there are still enough quality masks to fill orders.

“We deal with all U.S. manufacturers now, where before we really had to go outside and overseas because the manufacturing wasn’t really here for PPE,” said Pape.

Coronavirus test kits are also in demand, as they’re wanted by hospitals, medical clinics, private companies who test workers and parents who want their kids tested.

“You have back to school,” said Pape. “So, a lot of the testing in the urgent cares is picking up.”

Pape said the resurgent demand for personal protective equipment has been the bulk of 360 Health’s business. It’s a demand he believes his company will deal with for at least the rest of the year.