By Juli McDonald

WORCESTER (CBS) – It may look like a typical warehouse, but what UMass Memorial is stocking up on are essential supplies to protect frontline workers from Covid-19.

“I would say the N95s are still harder to get than most other items; germicidal wipes have been harder to get,” said Henry Lopez Senior Director of Supply Chain Logistics for UMass Memorial Health Care.

While local Covid numbers remained under control this summer, it gave the UMass Memorial team time to catch up in building a stockpile for a potential fall surge.

UMass Memorial warehouse (WBZ-TV)

“We moved from a 20,000 square foot facility to a 51,000 square foot facility and as you can tell we filled it up,” Lopez explained.

Before Covid, the hospital system was used to placing orders and receiving supplies next day. Worldwide demand throughout the pandemic brought deliveries to a frustrating crawl.

“We are waiting for containers to come in overseas, waiting for stuff to clear customs. It adds a lot of time and uncertainty to supply chain,” said Lopez.

They’ve built up three months worth of inventory at Covid levels. Lopez praised his behind-the-scenes staff for their important role in protecting providers and caring for Central Mass patients.

“They have been incredible, completely incredible in the effort it has taken us to be able to build this kind of inventory. We’re hoping it won’t come, but we’re prepared,” he said.

Juli McDonald

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