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Donations needed: Hospitals face potential shortage of face masks, other medical supplies due to coronavirus

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System to accept donated supplies

Blurred figures of people with medical uniforms in hospital corridor
Blurred figures of people with medical uniforms in hospital corridor (VILevi)

DETROIT – Many hospitals in Michigan are facing a potential shortage of face masks and other essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has asked residents and businesses to donate items needed most by hospitals and medical providers.

“Our brave medical professionals and first-responders are on the front lines of keeping us safe, and we must do everything we can to protect them and every Michigander we can from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “Right now, medical professionals across the state are forced to reuse face masks. This increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 during a time when we should do everything we can to mitigate it. We’re not getting the tools we need from the federal government, so it’s on all of us to work together to protect each other. ”

The Saint Joseph Mercy Health System announced that it plans to accept hospital supplies from area businesses and community members to help support its response to coronavirus.

The following unused and unopened items are being accepted:

  • PAPRs
  • Regular masks
  • N95 masks
  • Face shields
  • Gowns
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Surgical caps/protective caps
  • Eyeglass shields/goggles
  • Nasal testing swabs
  • M4 viral media
  • Lysol or Clorox wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Transparency sheets
  • Elastic banding for masks

They will also accept commercially prepared and package food items.

Health guidelines don’t allow the use of hand-crafted personal protective equipment like gowns, surgical masks and shields.

Those interested in making a donation should contact Kim Niethammer at Kim.Niethammer@stjoeshealth.org to ask questions and to coordinate supply drop offs at any one of the following Donation Center locations:

  • St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily: Drop off at Towsley Health Building (Catherine’s House Dress for Success entrance): 5361 McAuley Dr., Ypsilanti
  • St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday: Drop off at White Tent, Near Emergency Department, located at 775 S. Main St., Chelsea
  • St. Joseph Mercy Livingston - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily: Drop off at Main Entrance, located at 620 Byron Rd, Howell
  • St. Joseph Mercy Oakland - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday: Drop off at Medical Office Building (MOB), located at 44555 Woodward Ave., Pontiac.  The MOB is located on the hospital's main campus, just north of the Main Entrance. 
  • St. Mary Mercy Livonia - 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday thru Friday: Drop off behind Emergency Department, located at 36475 Five Mile Rd., Livonia.  Please use the West Entrance off of 5 Mile Rd. and follow the signs to the donation center.

READ: Ford partners with 3M, GE to help make medical supplies during coronavirus crisis

Whitmer’s office listed these items as the most needed at this time:

  • Hospital Gowns 
  • Ventilators
  • Sanitizer (Hand / Wipe)
  • Gloves  
  • Surgical Masks
  • Masks N95-N100
  • No-Touch Thermometers 

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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