As the spread of COVID-19 in Florida increases the load on the health care system, Pinellas and Hillsborough county officials are asking for donations of medical supplies.
"Anticipating potential shortages in the county-wide response to COVID-19, Pinellas County is proactively collecting personal protective equipment (PPE) and disinfectants for our hospitals, first responders, emergency medical services, nursing homes and home healthcare workers," said a statement on the Pinellas County website.
Pinellas County Emergency Management Director Cathie Perkins said that they're keeping in touch with area hospitals to make sure the ones in most need would get help on a priority basis.
"The state is struggling to get resources in, as they are at the federal level," Perkins said. "So, we're talking with them (the hospitals) every day to see if they're able to procure stuff locally, what they have coming in. So, as we get those resources coming in, we can ensure that we're getting those to the facilities that have the most critical needs."
Perkins added that the county officials have already asked some local businesses for assistance.
"We're reaching out to trade schools that teach people, salons, tattoo parlors, dentists, anybody that may have this type of protective equipment, so we are scouring everything locally, ensuring that we're working very closely not only with our hospitals, but with our nursing homes and assisted living facilities and with our EMS providers to give them everything that we can," she said.
Pinellas County is looking for the following items:
- Surgical face masks (except homemade face masks);
- P100 masks;
- N95 masks;
- Face shields;
- Nitrile exam gloves, powder-free;
- 5- and 7-mil nitrile gloves;
- Eye protection - safety glasses;
- Surgical tear away gowns;
- Safety eye goggles;
- Hand sanitizer (any size) 60% alcohol;
- 91% isopropyl alcohol;
- Clorox wipes;
- Lysol disinfectant spray;
- Sani-cloth wipes;
- 3% hydrogen peroxide;
Business owners and individuals who have items from the list can donate them at one of three sites:
- St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 715 E Orange St., Tarpon Springs, 64689
- Walsingham Park, 12615 102nd Ave., Seminole, 33778
- Tropicana Field, Lot 4, 198 17th St. S., St. Petersburg, 33705
The sites are open starting Wednesday on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The areas are only open for donations of medical supplies; other items will not be accepted there.
If you want to donate food or clothes, you will need to use other donation sites – check the Pinellas County website for the directions.
READ MORE: Coronavirus Coverage On WUSF
Hillsborough County is also asking for donations of medical equipment. At the a site opened at the former Sears Automotive shop at 250 Westshore Plaza, volunteers are collecting the following items:
- Impervious gowns;
- Face shields;
- Surgical masks;
- N95 masks;
- Tyvek suits;
- Exam gloves.
The donation area will work daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Wednesday and concluding on Friday, April 3. The site will be closed during the weekend.
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