MAPCO Donates 2,400 N95 Masks to HEMSI

In its latest effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, MAPCO donated 2,400 N95 masks Tuesday to HEMSI.

While adhering to social distancing protocols, first responders from Huntsville’s Fire & Rescue Department and HEMSI retrieved the donation from MAPCO team members at their new store at 11821 South Memorial Parkway.

“This generous donation will help protect our first responders as they continue to help those in need,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “The N95 masks give our frontline workers the ability to do their jobs with the protective equipment they need. On behalf of the City of Huntsville and its residents, we thank MAPCO for their partnership in helping us combat COVID-19.”

The donation of 2,400 N95 respirator masks to HEMSI is part of MAPCO’s continuous commitment to the communities it serves. MAPCO has some 344 stores throughout the Southeast.

“We are proud to partner with HEMSI to provide Huntsville first responders with these invaluable supplies to protect them as they risk their lives on the front lines,” says Frederic Chaveyriat, company CEO. “MAPCO has been a part of the Huntsville community for many years, and we now have eleven stores serving the city. We are committed to keeping our guests, team members and communities as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

MAPCO stores continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic as essential businesses, and all locations have implemented rigorous and frequent cleaning and disinfecting processes while closely following the latest information and guidelines from local, state and federal government agencies and health organizations. Plexiglass shields have been installed in every store and masks, gloves and hand sanitizer have been provided to all team members.

Additionally, to support social distancing efforts, store occupancy has been limited and MAPCO has placed physical in-store indicators on floors to support appropriate distancing. All seating areas are closed, and food orders are to-go only for the time being.

Crestwood CEO: Surge in Confirmed Cases Possible

Local officials have a statement regarding the coronavirus pandemic: Brace for a possible wave.

Madison County has 101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with one death, but that could soon change.

“We expect that number to continue to climb,’’ said Dr. Pam Hudson, CEO of Crestwood Medical Center, during a weekly update Tuesday that began this week at the city council chambers. “We expect a surge, if we’re going to have one, about two weeks from now.’’

Wednesday, Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said models have indicated the peak number of patients experiencing virus symptoms will land “on or around April 20.”

“We don’t know what that peak is going to be,” added Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong.

Spillers said so far the Huntsville Hospital Fever and Flu Clinic has accomodated all testing traffic. However, he added, the drive-thru testing tent set up at John Hunt Park will reopen as soon as supplies are available prior to any surge.

On Tuesday, Hudson said she originally said one employee had tested positive for COVID-19 and Huntsville Hospital had one employee. Crestwood later changed that figure to one physician and one employee.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 1,013 confirmed positive tests statewide.

Hudson was joined Tuesday in providing updated information from Madison Mayor Paul Finley, who was also representing Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle; Madison County EMA Director Jeff Birdwell; and HEMSI CEO Jon Howell.

Howell said HEMSI had isolated four employees for possible virus contact.

All four expressed confidence the  area is prepared for a surge in virus cases but also acknowledged it’s a fluent situation with no guarantees.

“This is not an event that will be over tomorrow,’’ Howell said.

Spillers said supplies are hard to come by. Reports he’s read say even supplies in the United States are going to the highest bidder around the globe.

“We need to close that door,” he said.

Hudson said a large focus at her hospital is rotating staff to keep employees fresh.

“It’s easier to make a mask than a nurse,’’ she said.

Howell said the public response so far has been strong as far as his ambulance service is concerned.

“We’re very grateful our respondents have been reduced,’’ he said.

He hopes the lower call volume will remain low in case there is a surge in the coming weeks.

“We need you to stay at home as much as you can,’’ Howell said.

There were central themes at the press conference:

  • Isolate as much as possible at home.
  • Keep a 6-foot distance from others.
  • Wash hands consistently.

Finley and Birdwell said people with concerns can reach out to the chambers of commerce and EMA. Also, they said questions can be answered on websites updated by the cities of Huntsville and Madison, as well as Madison County and the Alabama Department of Public Health.