Can You Sew? Some Chippewa Valley Hospitals Are Accepting Donations of Protective Masks [UPDATED]
businesses also asked for donations of protective medical gear
The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and several Chippewa Valley hospitals are asking area businesses and individuals to help medical providers obtain potentially life-saving protective gear that is in short supply.
In an email to members this week, the chamber put out a call for businesses — particularly those in the construction industry — to donate unused and still-packaged N95 masks, which are used by health-care providers to protect them from airborne particles, such as those that may carry the coronavirus. “These masks are currently in great demand by our area hospitals,” the chamber message stated. “If you find that you do have extra masks available, please consider donating them during this time of need.”
Karen Kraus, a spokeswoman for HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals, said the facilities would gladly accept donations of N95 masks or other personal protective equipment from businesses or individuals. Donation arrangements should be made through the hospitals’ community health director, Laura Baalrud, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals are also accept hand-sewn cloth masks. If you’ve got the time and materials, the hospitals have a specific pattern they wish you to follow. (Click here for details.) Donations of these hand-sewn masks will only be accepted if they are dropped off at one of the location collection sites: the three Festival Foods locations in Eau Claire and the two Family Fare stores in Chippewa Falls.
Kraus said donation containers should be in place by Thursday, March 26. “How and when we use the cloth masks will be based on guidelines from the CDC and our infection prevention experts within our two hospitals,” Kraus said.
Marshfield Clinic Health System is also accepting donations of masks and exam gloves. Between Sunday, when Marshfield Clinic first put out a request for help, and Wednesday, thousands of cloth masks and exam gloves had been donated, said Matthew Schneider, regional communication manager.
In Eau Claire, Marshfield Clinic is accepting donations of homemade cloth masks and unopened N95 masks at the Barstow Street entrance of Acoustic Cafe, 505 S. Barstow St. Donations can be left in a bin in the foyer from 11am to 1pm Monday-Friday. Learn more about the facemask drive on this Facebook post from the Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation. And to learn more about making a COVID-related donation to Marshfield Clinic, visit this website.
Among the western Wisconsin residents who have responded to the call for masks are members of the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre, where four employees are hard at work making masks now instead of theatrical costumes, the Leader-Telegram reports.
“We’re providing our skills and talents to do something that is going to be helpful in this crazy health crisis that we’re experiencing,” Allie Kangas, ECCT costume designer, told the newspaper.
When asked about donations of masks and protective equipment, Mayo Clinic Health System made the following statement Thursday: “Mayo Clinic Health System is currently not accepting handmade items, including masks and gowns. If this should change, we will share that need with our communities. Businesses who wish to donate new supplies, including large quantities of N95 or construction grade masks, please click here to complete this form so the items can be vetted to ensure they meet requirements. Thank you for the generosity and caring shown to Mayo Clinic Health System and our staff during this time.”
The state of Wisconsin has also launched an initiative to get more personal protective gear in the hand (and over the faces!) of the health-care providers who need it most. Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday (March 26) that the state has created a website to receive donations or to buy back large supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 respirators, goves, masks, and surgical gowns.
“It is absolutely imperative that our healthcare workers and first responders have the equipment they need to stay safe and healthy as they care for our communities,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a media release. “As we face a global shortage of PPE, and are competing with other states to acquire limited resources, I am calling on companies, schools, and other organizations that may have unused protective equipment sitting in their facilities to make those materials available to those who need it most. The state appreciates any donations, but we are also prepared to pay a fair market value for large quantities of this equipment that are offered.”
Read the entire media release here:
Gov. Evers Launches Wisconsin's COVID-19 PPE Program
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today launched an initiative designed to get more personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gowns, gloves and masks, to those working on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is absolutely imperative that our healthcare workers and first responders have the equipment they need to stay safe and healthy as they care for our communities. As we face a global shortage of PPE, and are competing with other states to acquire limited resources, I am calling on companies, schools, and other organizations that may have unused protective equipment sitting in their facilities to make those materials available to those who need it most,” Gov. Evers said. “The state appreciates any donations, but we are also prepared to pay a fair market value for large quantities of this equipment that are offered.”
Wisconsinites can now go to https://covid19supplies.wi.gov/Donations to either donate or sell large quantities of PPE to the State of Wisconsin. The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) will then work with distribute the PPE to communities that need it the most.
First responders and other non-medical organizations should communicate their PPE needs to their county or tribal emergency management office, which will then forward those requests to the SEOC for fulfillment. Medical facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and clinics, should continue using the established process for requesting supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
“We are amazed at the outpouring of offers from businesses and other organizations who have already told us they want to help fill the critical need for this equipment across the state,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “Our staff has already been working to review those offers of support, and our hope is this site will help to streamline that process going forward.”
“Wisconsin, like many other states, has a shortage of personal protective equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We are doing everything we can to get more protective equipment so our health care workers, first responders on the frontlines can protect themselves from COVID-19, and in turn, help keep all Wisconsinites safer.”
The state is currently seeking the following items:
Surgical Gowns (S, L, XL, and XXL)
Face/Surgical Masks (adult, pediatric)
Gloves (Nitrile, Vinyl, or Butyl)
N-95 Particulate Respirators
If organizations or businesses have quantities of fewer than 50 of any of these items, they are encouraged to donate them to local health organizations instead of going through the buyback website.
The SEOC and Department of Health Services continue working to supply medical facilities with supplies requested from the SNS. So far, the state has received about 104,680 N95 respirators, 260,840 face/surgical masks, 48,168 face shields, 40,512 surgical gowns, 192 coveralls, and 70,375 pairs of gloves from the SNS. The state has also requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with purchasing supplies for use by first responders.