HORNELL, N.Y. (WETM) – Hornell is being considered a coronavirus hotspot, and many of the county’s cases come from nursing homes. The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) is possibly adding fuel to the flames.

At least 11 of the 14-people Steuben County residents who passed away from the virus lived in nursing homes. Several from Hornell Gardens.

The shortage of PPEs is a problem around the globe, and Hornell is no different. A statement from Hornell Gardens CEO Robert (Bob) W. Hurlbut, they are not being given enough of the supplies that keep people healthy and safe.

“Steuben County’s Office for Emergency Management and the State have been unable to provide Hornell Gardens with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Hurlbut. “Despite this, our facility remains open, and have been working around the clock to source and secure PPE (masks, shields, gowns and gloves) to safely provide critical care and essential services to residents.

Steuben County manager Jack Wheeler disagrees with Hurlbut’s statement.

“That statement made it sound like Steuben county hasn’t been meeting the needs of the facilities in our area, which I wholeheartedly dispute,” Wheeler said. “If we had our druthers, we would have ten times the amount of PPE that we currently have, but that’s just not what is given to us.”

Wheeler said that if they had the equipment, they would give them to the healthcare workers that need them.

“We are not sitting on what is given to us,” Wheeler said. “… We are providing that plus whatever we can source with local tax dollars to our facilities, specifically those in the Hornell area which are the most impacted.”

The county is looking for creative ways to supply the tools for healthcare workers. Wheeler said that they found horse masks that can be used as PPE.