There are serious concerns among front line medical workers about the availability of masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) in limited supply nationwide, but relief is on its way to Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Center.
If gloves, masks and face shields are weapons to fight the war on coronavirus, a San Diego nurse who says her PPE is now under lock and key is feeling unarmed.
"It's really frustrating because sometimes you wonder is there gonna be an N95 mask there, is there a face shield?" nurse Shannon Cotton wondered.
Cotton and other nurses, doctors, and EMT’s taking the coronavirus head on have signaled for help, and local residents and businesses are answering their call. At the request of community members, Sharp Healthcare is coordinating a PPE donation drive.
“They want to help, especially when people are in this stay-at-home state. They want to feel like they are doing something,” Sharp spokesperson John Cihomsky said.
At 9 a.m. Wednesday, the public was able to help. The first group of good Samaritans showed up at 4000 Ruffin Road to donate PPE to Sharp Healthcare.
They will accept items from the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday until further notice.
But healthcare workers are getting help from more than just people at home.
Popular tool retailer Harbor Freight is donating every glove, mask, and face shield on the shelves of its 1,000-plus stores, and everything in its warehouse, to the cause.
“We realized at this time the best thing we could do is provide for our people on the front lines in the hospitals,” Harbor Freight spokesperson Craig Hoffman said.
The company has 45 million pairs of gloves, hundreds of thousands of N95 masks, and tens of thousands of face shields to give.
Their generosity is resonating with San Diego shoppers
“Rubber gloves was one of the things on our list and saw the sign up and thought that was actually really cool,” customer Adam Prange said.
Harbor Freight expects to start shipping supplies by midweek, and Sharp's donation drive officially starts Wednesday at several drive-up drop-off sites. You won't even have to get out of your car to donate.
Sharp will update those drop off sites here.
While it's appreciated, the use of homemade masks are, for now, prohibited.
Sharp is asking that if you're not feeling well, for the sake of the volunteers, please send your donation with a friend.
Anyone else looking to help Harbor Freight donated supplies to where they are needed can contact the company.
Cihomsky said his hospitals have an adequate supply, but for how long is not known.