Providers sidelined by COVID-19 sharing protective equipment

Providers sidelined by COVID-19 sharing protective equipment

Illinois providers sidelined by the new coronavirus pandemic are identifying and donating needed personal protective equipment to hospitals and other healthcare workers on the front lines as the number of COVID-19 cases across the state continues to increase.

The Illinois Public Health Association announced last week that it would donate 30,000 gloves.

“IPHA is delighted to support our colleagues on the frontline of this fight,” said Toni Corona, president of the association and public health administrator at the Madison County Health Department.

Other trade groups said they have started to contact their members to determine how much supply they can give to their colleagues treating COVID-19 patients.

Leigh Ann Vanausdoll, executive director of the Illinois Optometric Association, said they have been surveying and compiling a list of members who say they have enough supplies on-hand that they would be able to donate.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to provide them with a good inventory,” she said.

Dentists are doing the same. Dr. Alice Boghosian, president-elect of the Illinois State Dental Society, said some dentists have already been collecting personal protective equipment and working with their area providers to donate them.

“We’re trying to funnel the PPE to where it’s needed,” she said.

Dr. Stacey Van Scoyoc, a Bloomington-based dentist and vice president of the society, said they have already established a connection in their community where hospitals in need of equipment can call and ask if any of the local dentists can provide specific items, such as small gloves.

“It just brought to light the fact that we do need to work together as a community to help our community,” Scoyoc said.

With dentists still having to provide some emergency care, Boghosian and Scoyoc said they try and provide equipment whenever possible.

Dr. Stephanie Keating, head of anesthesia service at the University of Illinois’ Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said the college is coordinating with the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association to compile a list of who can help supply equipment and manpower if and when there is a call to action.

“We’re basically identifying all of that so that if called upon by the local hospitals, we can immediately mobilize and get back to them,” she said.

Along with gloves and masks, Keating said some veterinarians can provide vital monitors and, in some cases, ventilators that could be modified for human use to use “as a bridge” in case demand exceeds availability.

And while they are trained to work on animals, Keating said some veterinarians, in theory, could assist other medical professionals to monitor patients and take vitals if necessary.

“The willingness of people in the veterinary community to help has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “And I think that there is just a whole profession of people that have training in this area, have the equipment and the PPE that could be of help. There’s just basically a whole profession that is absolutely willing to help if called upon.”


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