PPE - Frequently asked questions

State Response

Is the state supplying PPE to school districts?

School districts needing more PPE than they can obtain on their own should contact their local emergency management agency (EMA). If the EMA cannot support the request, they in turn can make a request for supplies from the state. The state works to support each jurisdiction to the extent possible.

What are the criteria considered when allocating PPE to fill requests from local jurisdictions and tribes?

Information on how the Department of Health prioritizes PPE allocation is available on the DOH website.

What is Washington doing to address the need?

The state is pursuing every available option to overcome this challenge, including purchasing PPE, seeking bulk donations of PPE, working with manufacturers willing to switch gears and produce needed items, making requests of federal sources, and working with health care providers to implement PPE conservation measures. We are also encouraging people to work with their local Emergency Management Divisions on donations.

Institutions needing more PPE than they are able to obtain on their own - such as hospitals and long-term care facilities - make requests of local jurisdictions, which in turn request supplies from the state. The state works to support each jurisdiction to the extent possible. Due to the extreme supply constraints relative to need, from the beginning of the pandemic through late May, the state only allocated PPE to users that fall in the tier 1 category, which includes hospitals and long-term care facilities with confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Since late May and into June, deliveries of PPE ordered by the state have been expanding for some items, particularly for gloves, gowns, surgical masks and face shields.

The state continues to expand access to PPE products and supplies to address tier 2 through 4 needs for many items, and has also begun work aimed at addressing longer-term, ongoing needs of others at high risk.

Who sets the specifications for PPE items the state is seeking?

The Department of Health identifies the specifications PPE must meet to keep our front-line responders and health care workers safe.  

Which agencies are involved in the PPE effort?

Multiple agencies are coordinating with the State Emergency Operations Center to bring needed PPE into the state.

  • Department of Commerce works with manufacturers willing to switch gears and produce needed items.
  • Enterprise Services works to find and purchase needed items.
  • Enterprise Services works to find and process bulk donations.
  • The departments of Health and Enterprise Services work to bring in items from federal programs.
  • The State Emergency Operations Center allocates PPE.
  • Enterprise Services delivers PPE to local communities.

Is the state experiencing price gouging/scams?

Information on vendors who attempt to misrepresent products or mark them up excessively is referred to the Attorney General’s Office. The state also has strong fraud protection measures in place through financial institutions.



How much PPE is needed to treat a COVID-19 patient?

It depends on several factors, including the facility and infection control systems in place such as special ventilation systems. As an example for three PPE items – gowns, N95 respirators and face masks -- what is generally needed to treat one patient for one day may range from:

  • Gowns: 6-12
  • N95 respirators: 1-5 
  • Face masks: 0-18


Providing PPE

I want to make a bulk donation of PPE on the state’s most-needed list. Who can I contact?

Visit our Personal Protective Equipment page for more details.

How is the state prioritizing response to vendors who have PPE to sell?

Vendors who have PPE to sell register in the state’s online vendor system, called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) and enter commodity codes for the types of equipment they have to sell. The state Department of Enterprise Services and other state agencies notify vendors of competitive opportunities through the WEBS system. Learn more.

The state is focusing on bulk donations for PPE. How can I donate smaller amounts of PPE?

To donate small quantities of items, or other items, contact your local emergency management agency.

Can my interest group or community organization begin sewing face masks or gowns or do something else to help?

Yes. Work with your local emergency management agency or nearest health care facility to determine what is needed – both the production specifications and types of PPE needed. Applying your volunteer resources to needs in your local community helps reduce distribution delays and transport costs.

I have a large supply of PPE on the state’s most-needed list that I’d be willing to sell the state? Who can I contact?

Visit our how you can help page for more details.