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Oregon expects to get millions of masks, more PPE before elective medical procedures resume May 1

Over the next seven days, the state expects to get 4.8 million surgical masks, 9.9 million N95 masks, 410,000 gowns, 865,000 face shields and 720,000 gloves.

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Thursday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced medical and dental facilities can resume non-urgent procedures beginning May 1 as long as they comply with COVID-19 safety standards. 

That means there needs to be enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency workers. Brown said it's clear the state will have enough.

The Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center, which puts out information on the battle against the coronavirus, released numbers Thursday on expected deliveries. Over the next seven days, the state expects to get 4.8 million surgical masks, 9.9 million N95 masks, 410,000 gowns, 865,000 face shields and 720,000 gloves. Three weeks from now, Oregon expects to have even more. 

In addition to PPE, Brown considered the financial hammering hospitals have taken for a lack of business during the pandemic, especially those in rural parts of the state.

On Wednesday, Charlie Tveit, the CEO of Lake Health District near the California border, said his hospital had lost $3 million in revenue. He is pleased with the governor’s announcement and will be ready to open for business May 1.

“I think it is marvelous information -- a sign of thoughtful leadership after having a lot of input from the medical community,” Tveit said.

It’s marvelous in the big city, too.

“The governor actually pleasantly surprised us with relaxing her executive order earlier than we had anticipated, but we're ready,” said Trent Green, chief operating officer for Legacy Health in Portland.

Gov. Brown will require hospitals keep 20% of their beds empty just in case there is a surge of COVID-19 patients. And businesses must have enough PPE to protect their employees and patients.

Green said Legacy has all that and more. The health organization suffered a 50% drop in revenue during the governor's order, and canceled 1,8000 procedures. Green expects things to start slowly.

“I think there'll be some trepidation. We've got processes in place to ensure that they are safe and our staff are safe. So, we're very aggressively monitoring our PPE consumption. We'll be testing every surgical patient before their surgery,” said Green.

The governor’s order covers way more than hospitals. Physical therapists, optomistrists, surgicenters and others can all reopen. The list also includes your dentist, but not until they have enough PPE.

RELATED: Gov. Brown calls for carefully lifting elective medical procedures ban on May 1

Dentists from around the state donated their PPE to workers on the front lines of the medical battle with COVDI-19. Now, they’re trying to find replacements.

“That actually is one of the challenges right now we're dealing with," said Barry Taylor, president of the Oregon Dental Association.

“That may be one thing that slows us down a little bit getting back to full capacity,” he said.

Reopening health care is a big first step back toward some version of normal. It's something that everyone, including the governor, is likely looking forward to.

“I personally can say that I am very excited to schedule a dental appointment cleaning very, very soon," Brown said.

RELATED: How could Oregon reopen amid coronavirus? Details from a draft report the governor’s office didn’t want shared

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