A convoy of National Guard trucks arrived on the Island Wednesday morning to deliver a staff isolation tent to the Edgartown house of correction, and other supplies Islandwide.

The convoy, which consisted of at least four beige, canopied vehicles, disembarked from the Steamship Authority at approximately 10 a.m., heading toward Edgartown.

Isolation tent is now set up at the jail as a precaution. No inmates have contracted Covid-19, sheriff Bob Ogden said. — Mark Alan Lovewell

In a press release that went out Wednesday afternoon, Dukes County sheriff spokesman Heather Arpin said the tents were part of a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) initiative for jails and would be used for screening prison employees for Covid-19.

“In support of proactive health and safety practices for the sheriffs of Massachusetts . . . (MEMA) has supplied testing tents to sheriffs statewide,” the press release said. “These tents will be used in order to screen staff coming into facilities for symptoms and risks of exposure to COVID-19, in order to protect staff and individuals in custody.”

Edgartown police chief Bruce McNamee said that while the National Guard brought the tents, the delivery and arrival of trucks did not constitute a deployment of national guardsmen on the Island. He confirmed that the tents were merely precautionary, and not in response to a coronavirus outbreak at the jail.

In an email message sent to Island police chiefs, sheriff Bob Ogden said the National Guard was providing the tent for staff screening and evaluation purposes outside the jail, and he offered to help with equipment and supplies.

“We are still staffed to adequate capacity, still virus free, and self-sustaining,” the sheriff wrote to the police chiefs. “That being said, if you need any PPEs [personal protective equipment], or to screen your personnel, feel free to call on us, we are happy to share our limited supplies and state resources with all of you.”

Also Wednesday National Guardsmen delivered a large shipment of personal protective equipment to Island first responders.

That order too was placed through MEMA.

The shipment consisted of at least 900 gowns, 400 N95 masks, 400 surgical masks, 50 goggles, 50 disposable face shields, many boxes of nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer, according to Christina Colarusso, emergency management director for the town of Tisbury. The National Guard delivered the supplies through the Steamship Authority. The order was large enough to take up three-quarters of the luggage cart, she said.

This constitutes the first shipment of protective equipment to the Island since the state of emergency was declared, Ms. Colarusso said. The equipment will be distributed among Island police, fire and EMS departments based on need.

“We have great inter-municipal sharing. Each department submits a weekly inventory so we can balance it out,” she said.

Bracing for an expected surge in cases of Covid-19, Ms. Colarusso said Island first responders now have the gear to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

“[MEMA] won’t fill an order until it is of medium to high priority urgency, because of the supply chain problems,” she said. “Right now, we are in good supply. In a week, we’ll know more.”

Ms. Colarusso said she is calculating the so-called burn rate of the gear to determine when the next shipment will need to be ordered.

“Burn rate is critical, because we don’t want to be greedy. It’s a fine line between having equipment before it runs out and not ordering too soon that we are jeopardizing a different area of the state,” she said.

The National Guard has deployed public safety officers to Nantucket in response to a request from the hospital for additional staffing in response to the coronavirus outbreak. A similar request has been made by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, although permanent staff have not yet been deployed to the Island, National Guard spokesman Don Veitech told the Gazette by phone Wednesday.

The beige trucks were lined up for the 1:15 ferry leaving the Vineyard Wednesday afternoon.