MHC PPE drive gets community support, still seeks donations

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LITTLE CURRENT – The personal protective equipment (PPE) drive at Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) has seen a positive community response to its call for donations, making the hospital appreciative of the gestures but still seeking more donations to bolster its supplies as it prepares for an influx of COVID-19 cases.

“I really want to say a heartfelt thanks to those who have contributed so far. If anyone knows of anything available or know of any resources that we might be able to use to obtain more stock, please pass that information along,” said MHC corporate support services manager Debbie Graham this past Monday.

MHC began this PPE drive in the latter half of March as the severity of COVID-19 became more apparent in Canada. Although the hospital has stocks of various types of PPE already on hand, it is impossible to predict the future demand for these items which are strongly sought-after across Canada. Conventional supply chains are able to fulfill some orders for these items but their supplies are extremely limited, leading numerous hospitals to issue calls to their community members for donations of PPE.

MHC is currently seeking nitrile or vinyl disposable gloves, face shields to cover the face and mouth, ear-loop masks rated L2 or greater, NIOSH-approved or CE0 N95 respirator masks and gowns rated L2 or greater.

“We’ve received sanitizers, gloves, surgical masks and dust masks, which are great in our maintenance and non-clinical areas. Many individuals and businesses have stepped up and contributed. It’s really heartwarming to see everybody want to contribute and help in some way,” said Ms. Graham.

The hospital is still in need of the N95 masks and gowns especially; however, the standard of N95 mask needed for the healthcare setting is something most people are less likely to have in their own homes, admitted Ms. Graham. They require masks that can be fitted closely to the wearer’s face, as opposed to the dust mask that is more commonly available to consumers. 

MHC continues to contact the Ministry of Health to advocate for more supplies for the hospital. It has to report its supply levels daily and send its requests for additional items.

“The (hospital) auxiliaries have been making cloth masks which are fantastic for our staff to wear at home and keep others safe when they’re in public,” said Ms. Graham.

MHC is also looking for a volunteer contingent from a variety of individuals to support its efforts, though details of this push were not available by press time Monday.

“If you are looking for ways to support your community and offer assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic please reach out to Samantha Smockum, human resources director at Manitoulin Health Centre,” stated a brief press release.

The hospital is seeking registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, housekeeping aides and general volunteers to help out in the community at this time. Anyone who fits one of those categories should contact Ms. Smockum at SSmockum@mhc.on.ca to inquire about volunteering with the effort.

For the foreseeable future, since nobody knows what the days ahead will hold for this virus, MHC continues to seek donations of sealed, non-expired PPE from Manitoulin residents. 

“The community has really stepped up and contributed several items that have really been useful,” said Ms. Graham. “Together, we’ll make it through this.”

To offer supplies for donation, email Debbie Graham at DAGraham@mhc.on.ca.