Officials at North Ottawa Community Hospital say they are thrilled with the donations already coming through their doors.
A giving link has been created on the hospital’s website, noch.org, to facilitate those donations.
“We got several hundred N-95 masks today,” hospital spokesperson Jennifer VanSkiver said Tuesday afternoon. Staff also located some expired N-95 masks that were purchased for the ebola scare in 2014 but never used.
The only problem with the expired masks is the elastic, VanSkiver said. The masks are still usable, “but we are not dipping into that pile yet,” she said.
The N-95 mask – also called a respirator – filters out fine airborne particles such as viruses, bacteria, allergens and pollen. It is designed to fit tightly on the face.
A surgical mask protects against larger particles and body fluids, and is worn loosely. It is usually made of paper or cloth.
VanSkiver said the hospital is not accepting homemade masks at this time.
“The challenge on those is quality control, even if they use the CDC guidelines,” she explained. “We are trying to mitigate risk.”
On the hospital’s website, scroll down the home page and you will see this link: “COVID-19 Giving Opportunities.” The page lists what kind of protective gear and supplies are being accepted, such as the commercially made masks, face shields and gloves. It also lists what they are not able to take, such as painter masks, swabs with a wooden tube or stick, and 3-D printed items including ventilator parts. They also are not accepting perishable food, blankets, medical equipment and medication.
VanSkiver said that if you want to help, or if you have questions on whether or not you can help, you may contact the hospital fund development department at email@example.com.
A donation to the hospital’s From the Heart Fund can be made by clicking on the link at the bottom of the “Giving” page.
As of Tuesday, VanSkiver said the hospital was not treating any COVID-19 patients, but expects that will happen in time. However, it is imperative to keep supplies stocked and the hospital staffed and funded so they are ready, she said.
“When that surge does come, we need to have these people here and ready to go,” she said. “Every hospital is in the same boat.”
NOCH has had to cancel elective surgeries, “which is our bread and butter,” VanSkiver said. “We have lost volume. We have lost revenue. But we still have fixed costs.”