How to donate personal protective equipment like masks and gloves to health care workers
As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States exponentially increased this week, health care workers sounded the alarm about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Around the country, hospitals and medical centers are facing shortages of N95 masks, surgical gowns, medical face shields, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, infrared thermometers and nitrile exam gloves, among other things.
Public health experts have advised people not to stockpile masks — they say only people who are already sick and medical professionals should wear masks. But panicked members of the public had already exhausted existing supplies, leading to widespread shortages.
Desperate doctors and nurses are taking to social media to plead for donations of much-needed supplies using the hashtag #GetMePPE. However, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to get these supplies into the hands of the people who need them.
Ways to donate PPE around the U.S.:
- The website Donate PPE is aggregating donations needed by a variety of hospitals in several states. It provides both the PPE that a medical facility is requesting and the specific drop-off procedures of those facilities.
- PPE Link, a site set up by scientists, engineers and medical professionals across the U.S., is seeking donations through a form on its website. The volunteers said they will match donors and requests based on location, supplies and delivery/pickup capability and then connect them to coordinate a transfer.
- A number of university medical centers are collecting donations, including the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Association of American Universities is keeping an updated list of universities seeking donations here.
- The state of Oregon is collecting PPE through its government website. According to the site, the PPE will be inspected, inventoried, and distributed throughout the state to medical professionals working with COVID-19 patients. It can be dropped off in-person or sent through the mail.
- The state of Washington is also collecting through its website. The state is focusing on bulk donations to fill the highest needs first and advises individuals with smaller donations to contact your local emergency management agency. Seattle Children's is also accepting donations.
- Businesses interested in selling PPE to New York state can contact the governor's office directly through its website.
- The County of Santa Clara Health System is accepting donations at its office in San Jose, California. It will distribute donated supplies to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Hospital & Clinics, O'Connor Hospital, St Louise Regional Hospital, Santa County County Public Health Department and other affiliated agencies.
- Local communities are holding PPE drives for people to drop-off donations. Colorado House Majority Leader Alec Garnett is hosting a drive Sunday at the Broncos Stadium in Denver to support the state's healthcare workers.
- Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts said that PPE donations can be dropped off 24/7 with public safety officials at the main entrances of Cambridge, Everett and Somerville Hospitals. Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is also seeking donations on its website.
- A group of volunteers called the Seattle Mask Brigade are working to pick up N-95 masks in-person to donate to Seattle-area healthcare and social service professionals. To donate unused masks, you can fill out a form on its website.
- A group of volunteers is coordinating the collection and delivery of PPE in the Bay Area. Volunteer drivers will pick up equipment from donors and deliver it directly to local hospitals and clinics. People looking to donate can fill out this form.
- San Mateo County is seeking donations on its website to assist local health care providers and health care facilities in California.
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