Burns seeks COVID-19 medical supplies for Cambria County

Asks governor, Health secretary for fair share of masks, protective gear

EBENSBURG, April 3 – Responding to a top preparatory need of Conemaugh Health System in bracing for the coronavirus, state Rep. Frank Burns wants Pennsylvania to earmark a fair share of available masks and medical supplies for Cambria County.

Burns, D-Cambria, wrote a letter asking for the “urgent, personal attention” of Gov. Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine in making sure that Cambria isn’t forsaken in getting hospital-grade masks and other protective gear distributed at the state level.

Burns acted following a recent phone briefing with Conemaugh Health System officials, who “made it clear that they are in dire need of masks to protect both their healthcare workers and the public” once the pandemic fans out from urban centers.

“I hope that you will ensure that medical supplies stockpiled by the state, received from the federal government or acquired from other sources will be distributed proportionately to rural areas, including Cambria County,” Burns wrote. “I stand ready to work with anyone and everyone – including your administration – to ensure Cambria County and other rural communities are not forgotten during this time of great need.”

Burns said he sought to learn the concerns of local health care officials, including what was most needed to help gird for upcoming COVID-19 cases, and was told that masks are No. 1 on the priority list for guarding employee and public safety.

“Without this protective measure, the virus will only spread more quickly, putting further strain on these healthcare facilities,” Burns wrote.

As the deadly virus rages in hotspots such as Philadelphia, Burns further wants to ensure that existing and future stockpiles of in-demand protective gear aren’t depleted to the point where little to nothing is left for less-populated areas when their need arises.