Update, March 23: This article has been updated to include details from Legacy Health System's donation call, and to add a new nationwide website created by medical doctors with donation information. It was originally published Thursday, March 19.
After a desperate group of Portland-area doctors launched a grassroots campaign to get supplies of safety goggles, masks, medical grade gloves and hospital gowns to frontline medical workers, donation sites are now up and running in three places around Oregon.
And Legacy Health System is asking those with Personal Protective Equipment to donate to contact them directly, using the email [email protected] or calling 503-415-4700. Medical professionals have also set up a new nationwide website called Get us PPE that allows users to search by state for donation details.
Doctor’s log. Helldate 2020. It has been 2 months since #COVID19 hit the U.S. Several healthcare friends are ill with it. Without personal protective equipment, we wonder who’s next. The cavalry is not coming, so we are starting our own solutions: https://t.co/7LeMgLT9YK— Esther Choo (@choo_ek) March 23, 2020
Dr. Vesna Jovanovic, a family medicine doctor from Portland who helped spur the effort after word that supplies of safety gear were getting dangerously low, exposing doctors and nurses to COVID-19 infections, says much more needs to be done.
“I am concerned at the limitations of having only two drop-off sites announced in the Portland metro area and one in Salem and hope that they can rectify this by opening more donation sites as soon as possible,” she said last Thursday.
Early Thursday morning, Gov. Kate Brown asked for dentists, veterinarians, and other businesses that routinely use such equipment—for example, contractors and electricians—to donate new masks, gowns, and gloves. Donations could be mailed or dropped off in person, she said, to the state Department of Corrections, at 3601 State Street in Salem.
Multnomah County officials followed that up a few hours later with a call for donated supplies to be dropped off at the Fire Marshall Office parking lot at 1300 SE Gideon Street in Portland or at the Multnomah County Headquarters at 501 SE Hawthorne. They have issued a much more specific list for donations, which includes:
- latex free gloves
- procedural masks
- surgical masks
- N95 respirators and N95 filters
- Other respirators (P100's, PAPR's, and PAPR supplies / parts)
- face shields
- splash shields
- hand sanitizer
- disinfecting wipes
Without sufficient protective gear, doctors, and nurses run a far greater risk of being infected themselves. In China, where the outbreak began, more than 3,300 doctors and nurses contracted coronavirus because they did not have sufficient gear on hand.
Jovanovic says there need to be donation sites set up at similar locations in every county in Oregon, to get needed equipment to physicians and nurses statewide. She’s urging those who want to help to go to designated drop sites, and not to call or go directly to medical centers, which are already overwhelmed. Also, given social distancing rules in place right now—and the very real possibility the entire state could be placed under a “shelter in place” requirement—Jovanovic suggests only one person per business or neighborhood make the drop-offs.
Legacy Health System is asking for direct contact from potential donors before any drop offs, and have specified the need for Nitrile gloves, vinyl gloves, goggles, isolation gowns, isolation masks, N95 masks, P95 masks, and dust masks.
Tri-County Health Officer Jennifer Vines has said that a surge of patients needing hospital-level care due to the COVID-19 virus is expected to begin in one to two weeks in Oregon, based on modeling. As of Thursday morning, Oregon has 88 reported cases of coronavirus, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Since the original call for donations went out, offers to help have come in from around the state.
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✨🔊PSA 🔊✨SOS✨🔊ILYSM🔊✨ • Hi, It's me, Britt Howard, owner of Portland Garment Factory. We are a local soft goods and garment manufacturer. I am sure you have heard the news that there will soon be a shortage of medical gowns and masks in our area. We want you to know that PGF has set up safety procedures in our shop and we are ready and able to produce up to 1000 medical masks and gowns per week using biodegradable material for medical professionals. Samples are already made! We want to use our expertise and capacity to be helpers during this very difficult time. This is where you come in: Are you, or do you know anyone in local government or local medical field that we can connect with? We need help barking up the right tree! PGF has identified two main goals right now: Stay in business and HELP our community! We have an internal committee focused on this. Please connect us! my email is [email protected] or you can DM me. P lease share this message widely so that we can help bridge the supply chain gap! Thank you!