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Marysville company that cleans up COVID-19 can’t get N95 masks

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Over at Marysville’s Bio Clean Inc, the crew does the dirty work that most people don’t want to do.

“We typically clean up after suicides, homicides, decomposed bodies, meth labs, drug labs, hoarding,” said Bio Clean’s owner Theresa Borst, who was the inspiration for the movie Sunshine Cleaning starring Amy Adams.

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Right now, Bio Clean is booked solid cleaning up after coronavirus.

“We’re slammed, we’re running 24/7,” Borst said. “We are doing a lot of government municipality cleanups. We’re doing quarantine hotels; as people move out of them after being in quarantine for 14 days we have to do a head-to-toe disinfection and sterilization. We’re doing everything from police vehicles to holding cells to evidence rooms and court rooms, dealerships. You name it. On top of that we’re still doing our regular jobs, so we’re really busy.”

When Bio Clean does a job, the employees suit up from head to toe, wearing disposable coveralls and booties, goggles, gloves and protective N95 masks. But Borst said they can no longer place orders for the masks, and the homemade ones aren’t protective enough.

“We’re getting the same old, same old: ‘We’re getting them in but we have strict orders that we’re to give them to first responders only. You have to be on the Tier One list to be a first responder and you’re not considered a first responder because you’re not medical.’ Even though they have them in their warehouse we are not able to get them because we’re not considered first responders even though we’re cleaning up after first responders. I’ve contacted [Governor Jay] Inslee’s office, [Senator Patty] Murray’s, [Senator Maria] Cantwell’s. I’ve tried FEMA, I’ve tried the Department of Emergency Management. I just can’t get anywhere. They do get back to me and they say, ‘Sorry, we’re saving them for first responders.'”

Borst says her employees have to change their masks every time they come back from a break, so on average they’d go through four per person, per day.

“As an owner of a company, I’m not going to subject their health or let them go out not properly protected and take the risk of them going home sick. I just refuse. So we’ll have to eventually close down if something doesn’t open up.”

She’s hoping this story might help her connect with people who can help.

“If anybody has a stockpile, please please please please contact us. We will buy them from you. We’re not asking for free, we’re not asking for charity. We’re just asking for supplies to keep our employees safe. I would love to see the laws changed. I think those of us who are first responders to the first responders should be allowed to obtain the supplies. They’re just sitting in warehouses.”

If you have N95 masks for sale, contact [email protected]

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal,” featuring celebrities like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Rainn Wilson, and Greta Gerwig. Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram & join the Quarantine Cooking Club!

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