Medical protective gear for health care workers in Kent County would last weeks, not months, in the event of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the county, said Kent County Emergency Services Director Wayne Darrell at Tuesday’s Commissioners’ meeting.

“I wish we had months of supply, right now we are at weeks,” he said.

“Some of our health care facilities are getting low on stuff–and getting critical,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for PPE to arrive and we’ve been getting a little in drabs; I’m sure most of it is going to the bigger counties.”

He said the Maryland Emergency Management Agency has notified the county that supplies would be delivered in the next few days.

As of Monday, April 13, Darrell said there were 12 positive cases in Kent and 91 residents have tested negative so far; the most recent positive case was documented on Monday.

Commissioner Ron Fithian asked how many of the 12 have been released from care and Darrell replied that three cases so far have been released from the hospital.

Fithian also sought guidance from Darrell on the use of masks in the general population.

“What are you expected to do because I hear conflicting information?” he asked.

Darrell responded that citizens should follow the latest CDC guidelines, which recommend wearing a mask anytime you go outside.

He said it did not need to be a first responder grade mask.

“It can be a homemade mask or a dusk mask that you wear when you’re working in your shop.”

Darrell reiterated that the masks are not so much to protect an individual from contracting COVID-19 — but to prevent someone who is unknowingly infected from spreading the disease.

“It would be the humane thing to do these days; if you are going out in public and you’re going to come into contact with anybody…the thing to do would be to wear a mask so you’re protecting other people from what you may have.”

He said the county has been unable to vet vendors offering PPE supplies for health care facilities because of scams–and is why the county is using an approved vendor list from MEMA to obtain supplies.