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Ocean Center hub in the coronavirus fight

In normal times, it plays host to dozens of trade shows, conferences, concerts, competitions and sporting events.

But these aren’t normal times. Volusia County’s Ocean Center is now a central distribution hub for a critical supply chain that’s responsible for getting life-saving equipment to local workers on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus.

Approximately 94,000-square-feet of exhibit space at the convention center has been converted into a temporary staging area for critically-needed personal protective gear such as masks, gowns, gloves and face shields. Volusia County Emergency Management procured the materials through the Florida Division of Emergency Management to fulfill requests from local agencies. Pallets of supplies are being shipped here and then sorted and inventoried by county staff in public protection, corrections and emergency management and readied for distribution to first responders and area hospitals, healthcare facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The goal is to fill up the temporary warehouse space as much and as fast as possible and then get the equipment to where it’s needed just as fast. Agencies will be contacted today to start picking up their supplies.

“Our processes are working very quickly. We get it in as quickly as we can, and we get it out as quickly as we can,” said Mark Swanson, Volusia County’s deputy director of public protection. “We know that the agencies out there need these supplies. So we’re working very diligently to get those out.”

Establishing a large hub for staging equipment is the best and most efficient way to coordinate the massive effort to get supplies to where they’re needed most, according to Volusia County Emergency Management Director Jim Judge.

“Having one central and secure point for deliveries and distribution for the entire county saves on time and potential for duplication of efforts,” said Judge. “The Ocean Center is the perfect location for all logistical activities.”

A video of county staff sorting materials at the Ocean Center can be viewed here:

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