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Stark County ambulance owner fights to protect workers due Amazon’s coronavirus restrictions

The owner of a local ambulance service was having difficulty purchasing medical supplies from Amazon until a congressman and The Canton Repository made calls.

North Canton, April 10, 2020

Stark County ambulance owner fights to protect workers due Amazon's coronavirus restrictions
Alliance Review 
Published on April 10, 2020

A North Canton-based ambulance service with 24 active stations in West Virginia and Ohio, had difficulty getting Amazon to deliver medical supplies, leaving his employees to fend for themselves against COVID-19.

At least until a congressman and The Canton Repository got involved.

Ken Joseph, paramedic and CEO of Emergency Medical Transport, said Thursday his wife and daughter had resorted to sewing masks. His IT employee is making hand sanitizer while keeping the business’ computers running.

Joseph said about many of his patients are COVID-19 positive or think they are and it was difficult to get necessary supplies to keep equipment and employees safe.

Joseph said his company routinely purchases items from Amazon and has for about “the last four or five years, paying in excess of $10,000, give or take. We supply all of our stations from Amazon with anything from typing paper to Purell hand sanitizer, soap, laundry detergent.”

He placed his plea on his company Facebook page.

The Canton Repository began calling Amazon for comment, and late Thursday night, Joseph received a call from Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.

On Friday, Joseph said, his ability to order supplies from Amazon was restored.

An Amazon employee with knowledge of the COVID-19 ordering process, but not permitted to speak publicly, said Amazon wants to provide the critically needed supplies and was looking into why Joseph’s company was unable to register on the site.

 

The list of those facilities and agencies did not include private ambulance companies, but it did include companies that are members of the American Ambulance Association.

Joseph’s company is not a member of that association. Instead, his company is a member of the Ohio Ambulance Association, an organization for which he serves as a board member, he said.

Because his employees were in need already, hand sanitizer was donated by the NAPA auto parts store in Carrollton.

“One of our mechanics told them we are having trouble finding the things we need,” Joseph said. “They initially got us N95 masks and they’ve got us hand sanitizer that will come Monday.”

Some county officials in the areas where his ambulance service operates have also assisted in obtaining some of the necessary supplies, but those supplies are earmarked for use on the counties that supply them, he said.

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