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PPE piles up outside testing center, community members concerned

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It's an alarming sight. PPE piling up alongside a dumpster at a TestNebraska site.

In an exclusive story, 6 News checked out the test site at the Crossroads Mall and got some answers.

The sight of this PPE piling up is alarming, says Nick Delman. He and his fiancé spotted it while on their way to target last night at 72nd and Dodge.

“PPE was sitting in trash bags completely out so theoretically anyone from the public could go through it. It was very disconcerting,” said Delman.

Delman says he was worried someone might accidentally get into it.

“Children or anybody who’s potentially dumpster diving or homeless . . . doesn’t really flatten the curve,” said Delman.

Last night he contacted local and state health officials.

“I took a video and contacted the Douglas County Health Department via email and also sent it to the state, DHHS,” said Delman.

We contacted the state and the governor's office today and were told another dumpster is on its way and that the PPE is not a bio-waste.

But the county health department says that's no reason not to take precautions.

“Well it appears to be materials that were used when they were collecting samples from individuals so there was potential exposure to COVID-19 on those materials so it needed to be disposed of properly,” said Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department.

County health officials say they will be checking on the site again.

“Yes, the dumpster will have to be locked. And I’m going to be checking on that on my way home from work tonight - and you know it definitely wasn’t handled well,” said Rooney.

As for Nick Delman, he says this should not have been a problem in the first place.

“You would think somebody who’s running these tests would be at the frontline defending against any potential spread,” said Delman.

The governor's office told 6 News today the Crossroads TestNebraska site is relatively new.

It’s taken time to get another dumpster to the site.

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