With the COVID-19 pandemic increasing in numbers and accelerating, an acute shortage of personal protective equipment is in danger of reaching a critical point nationwide and locally.

In the Midlothian area, however, businesses and schools are doing their part to make sure that medical professionals and first responders have the protection from the virus that they will need.

Last week, the Midlothian Police Department received a donation of N95 respirator facemasks from Gerdau Steel Mill Midlothian for officers on the street. Gerdau also donated Tyvek suits and masks to the Midlothian Fire Department last week.

“With their donation, we were able to issue a mask to each officer in the Patrol Division, to protect them and our citizens as we deal with the COVID-19,” MPD posted on Facebook.

Gerdau and the Martin Marietta cement plant also both recently donated Tyvek suits and N95 respirators to Midlothian Family Medicine Clinic.

While governmental agencies and schools receive donations of PPE, sometimes it works the other way.

For instance, the Midlothian Independent School District last Thursday donated 488 goggles to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Waxahachie.

“We are all doing our part in ways big and small, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help our medical professionals as they care for others,” MISD posted on Facebook.

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, which serves Midlothian and is building a hospital there, has received numerous donations from the area for things like masks, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, which are in short supply and increasingly hard to come by. The hospital has also received cupcakes and flowers as appreciation for their efforts in fighting the virus.

In surrounding areas, Waxahachie Fire-Rescue has put out the call for donations of PPE for first responders. The requested supplies include N95 masks, surgical masks, medical gowns, Tyvek suits (all sizes), face shields and safety goggles/glasses.

“While currently we have supplies to serve the community, we would like to have a larger inventory should the need grow,” the department posted on social media. “Many of the suppliers are running short of inventory.”