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Ventura and Alameda Counties are latest to receive supplies from Direct Relief

GOLETA, Calif. - Another shipment of medical supplies left Direct Relief's warehouse Wednesday afternoon, filling medical supply requests from Ventura and Alameda Counties as state numbers for COVID-19 reached 2,535 positive cases.

"For an emergency you need staff, stuff, space and systems, right?" said Direct Relief CEO Thomas Tighe. "As a world now, maintain the on-going health services that aren't going away -- people are still giving birth, they're breaking their leg, they're needing treatment to maintain that while adding on a whole new level." 

An electronic map tracks high priority shipments leaving Direct Relief's warehouse in Goleta. (Photo: Beth Farnsworth)

An electronic tracking map of the U.S. filled a wall inside the Wallace Becknell Rd. facility that depicted the number of daily shipments; California was among the states receiving the most of four or more pallets. 

Tighe stressed the non-profit's main role is one of "back-up."

"Recently we've been playing a primary role for many of the places that just went short. But I think that working with Cottage and Sansum and the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and the Office of Emergency Services in VTA, that's what we think Direct Relief's role should be is to provide all of our capability for distribution rapidly."

He also mentioned "fairly and appropriately." 

Tighe said the Goleta non-profit is receiving more local and state requests for in-car testing supplies for COVID-19 and understands concerns coming from local frontline medical workers.

"Every patient is a potential infection for them and their families, so I think the level of concern is real. They deserve all of our support and we all have a role to play to stay healthy and stay out of the hospitals if we can." He added, "We'll do everything we can to make sure that the private resources are mobilized as fairly and rapidly as we possibly can."

Tighe said a pending order for 2.5 million N95 masks should arrive this week. 

To date, Direct Relief has made nearly 1,900 deliveries containing thousands of medical items in the past three weeks in the fight against COVID-19. Deliveries overseas to China stopped more than a month ago when the need diminished.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.