Vulnerable populations in Princeton will soon be able to receive personal protective equipment and supplies from the municipality.
When the Princeton Council convened for its March 28 meeting, the governing body unanimously voted to approve a resolution authorizing the purchase of personal protective equipment, and quarantine and isolation supplies.
The $29,980 for the equipment and supplies is being funded entirely through community development block grant (CDBG) funding. The supplies will be distributed through Princeton Human Services and will be for low and moderate income families in Princeton.
“Utilizing the CDBG funding, the municipality will be purchasing disinfectant wipes, facial tissues, face masks, toothbrushes, trash bags, toilet paper, thermometers, pulse oximeters, and at-home COVID-19 tests,” said Gwendolyn Krol, Princeton Health Department vulnerable population outreach coordinator; Jeff Grosser, Princeton deputy administrator and director of health; and Julie Venema, Princeton Health Department COVID-19 generalist.
The health department based the supply choices using recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical sites for COVID-19 care kits.
“We will be ordering enough supplies to distribute over 300 kits to vulnerable populations in Princeton,” they said. “The health department has been working through drafts of this PPE for the past few weeks. With the now approved resolution, the health department expects the materials to be ordered by the end of this week [April 8].”
Once the department receives the material materials purchased, the kits would be assembled and ready for distribution shortly thereafter.
“With the change in the current pandemic climate, there has been an emphasis on the need for free PPE for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As federal funding has changed, there is no longer the same funding for local municipalities available to cover pandemic related costs,” Krol, Grosser and Venema said in the statement.
In March, the Biden Administration had urged Congress to pass $22.5 billion in immediate emergency funding and warned that if the funding was not approved the federal government would not be able to sustain its testing capacity.
Krol, Grosser and Venema stressed that COVID-19 case waves have shown the demand for free PPE and testing for all populations, but especially under and uninsured residents.
“To offset this, the health department will be purchasing various PPE with CDBG funding, to increase access for these populations,” they said.
According to the Princeton Health Department, COVID-19 cases had doubled in the past seven days. The department indicates that increase is due to the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron. There were 53 positive cases of COVID-19 in the prior seven days as of April 4 and 80 confirmed cases in the last two weeks.