Groton — The town is planning to create a “stockpile” of Personal Protective Equipment to help battle COVID-19.
Economic and Community Development Manager Paige Bronk said the town is looking to use a $150,000 state grant to purchase a variety of equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sheet plastic, duct tape and plexiglass and store it at the Groton Community Center.
Bronk said the town intends on providing the items not just to governmental departments and staff, but also to local businesses and community groups if there is a second wave of COVID-19 during the winter. Groton is among the 100 municipalities currently under a “red alert,” meaning they have at least 15 daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.
“The theory is that if we have a second wave, PPE is going to be very difficult for people to acquire and if they can get it, it’ll be cost prohibitive,” Bronk said.
Bronk said the town will not have the means to provide PPE for “any and all needs,” but the idea is to create a “stopgap” measure so businesses and community needing PPE will at least have a minimal supply to get them through whatever challenges they face.
He added that the town wants people to try to order their own PPE, but in the event of a shortage, it will be nice to have a local source of PPE available.
This summer, the town distributed a small number of masks with the town’s logo to businesses so they would have them if a customer did not have a mask, he added.
The town plans to reach out to the business community, community groups and political subdivisions in Groton to find out what their needs are and try to make the stockpile last as long as possible, he said. The town hopes to have the PPE in hand by late fall.
Groton, which participates in the state’s small city Community Development Block Grant program, applied to receive a portion of federal CARES Act funding.
The grant was part of $3.4 million in grants, administered through the Department of Housing, from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, that Gov. Ned Lamont announced earlier this month. The state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund taps into federal CARES Act funding. Enfield, Guilford, Mansfield, Portland, Stonington, Torrington, Trumball and Westport also received funding.
The Town of Stonington is acting for a second year as the administrator for a regional grant and received $350,000 for Shelter Diversion of Eastern Connecticut, said First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough. Shelter diversion works to help homeless people find alternative housing and connects them with services and financial assistance so they can return to permanent housing.
She said the money will be used to hire diversion coordinators who will work to make the transition to housing more effective and thereby reduce instances of people returning to homelessness.