LOCAL LOOKOUT: Dentist donates masks to local sheriff's office amid shortage
HOWARD COUNTY – As public safety agencies face major personal protective equipment shortages, a local dentist is making sure first responders stay protected.
On Wednesday, KOMU first reported the Howard County Sheriff’s Department was in severe need of personal protective equipment to use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I've called 20 different companies that I order from, and companies I don't normally order from, and everything is on back order,” Howard County Sheriff Mike Neal told KOMU 8 News.
In response to that shortage, he said a local dentist had stepped up to help.
“She donated me one box with 50 of those little blue masks that the dentist or a doctor wears," he said.
That dentist happens to be Howard County’s only dentist, Dr. Jessica Quint. KOMU caught up with her on Thursday.
“[Sheriff Neal] escorted a prisoner to the office, and during that time I was treating the prisoner I asked him if they were doing okay with medical supplies,” Quint said. “He explained to me they were very limited, they had some stuff left over from 9/11, but they were not able to get masks.”
Each week, her office normally gets three boxes with 50 masks in each.
“I don’t have—right this second—as many patients as I normally would, which frees up a little bit of my masks," she said.
When Sheriff Neal told her about the department’s need, she didn’t even have to give it a second thought.
“It’s just part of what I do," she said. "My job is to take care of people."
She knew she could help her longtime friend.
“I’ve known him and his family since I was in high school,” she said. “He was just very thankful. Very thankful. He’s a very humble man, but he was very thankful.”
She said she hopes this serves as an opportunity for other people to step up and help.
“People have been texting and calling me," she said. "I didn’t do it for that. I just—I know Mike, I know our community. He needed something. I had it. I gave him what I had, and so I hope maybe that’ll inspire other people.”