ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) -- Montgomery County needs help protecting first responders and medical personnel working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials are asking the public for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); which includes respirators (N95 or KN95), masks (surgical or procedural), gowns (medical, isolation, or surgical), face Shields (medical goggles or safety glasses) and gloves.
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"This unprecedented health challenge has brought out the best in our community and many people and organizations are helping," said Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Dr. Earl Stoddard. "The County has already received donations from many businesses currently unable to operate due to the mandate to close nonessential businesses. Local construction companies, laboratories, and manufacturers have also offered supplies. The County can use more PPE as the shortage continues."
Captain Tom Jordan with the Montgomery County Police Department said they're also facing a critical shortage of face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer
As of Thursday, the state reported Montgomery County has 498 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Jordan said without proper gear, it could pose a challenge to keep people safe.
"It's very important we protect our first responders. I'm not saying that because I'm a first responder, I'm saying that because if fist responders go down, who are we going to have to respond to the crisis situations, the crime," Jordan said.
The shortage of supplies is statewide. In Baltimore, the University of Maryland School of Nursing is trying to keep up with the demands with homemade masks.
"In just under a week, we received 868 homemade masks that we've been able to deliver to the medical center," Susan Dorsey, Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, said.
Dorsey said twice a week, they drop off handmade masks donated by faculty, students and community members
They're then distributed to patients being sent home, or nurses who aren't working on the front lines so doctors can preserve medical grade gear.
She said during a crisis like this, it's all about supporting those protecting us.
"Whatever we can do, any small part we can play in helping the front line workers and the staff and all those dealing wit the crisis is rewarding," Dorsey said.
Any individual, business or organization with a supply of PPE is encouraged to complete this online form to arrange for a donation.
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