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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indiana nursing homes get first wave of PPE from FEMA

In fact, 13 Investigates found some specialized COVID-19 units surprised by what showed up at their doorstep.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — More than half a million masks, gowns and goggles are headed for nursing homes here in Indiana and across the country.

In fact, 13 Investigates found some specialized COVID-19 units surprised by what showed up at their doorstep.

Westpark is one of 114 nursing homes across the state to get shipments of personal protective equipment from the Federal Emergency Management Administration known as FEMA.

Annette Cheever, the Executive Director of the 35-bed facility, told 13 Investigates by phone about their surprise delivery.

"We actually did not get notice. We received it yesterday and opened it and seen that it was gloves and gowns and goggles," Cheever told 13 Investigates. "It was quite a surprise," she said with a chuckle, adding: "We go through quite a bit of PPE here."

Just five weeks ago, Westpark entered what's called "the red zone" to take on a new level of care during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Our whole building is actually classified as a 'red zone,' so all we take are COVID positive residents. In order to make it safer for all of our communities, we decided to open this one and make it COVID to be able to take care all of the people that tested positive," Cheever explained.

According to FEMA the first wave of PPE was shipped out to nursing homes in the most vulnerable counties and communities. Westpark and Meridian Rehab are among seven chosen sites in Marion County.

Each shipment is supposed to provide a 14-day supply of personal protective wear for those working with such a vulnerable population.

At Westpark the extras won't last nearly as long.

"It would probably be closer to a seven day supply for us," said Cheever, who is grateful for the support and the team of workers taking care of the patients at Westpark.

"It's actually an honor to be able to give back to the community for a service that's highly needed and to keep our other facilities safe," she added.

The second wave of shipments will go out in June.

In all, FEMA expects to deliver more than 608,000 pieces of PPE to more than 15-thousand nursing homes nationwide.

To see what facilities have received shipments already click here.