As Michigan hospitals face potential shortages of medical supplies, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking Michigan residents and businesses to donate face masks, personal protective equipment and other essential medical supplies.
“Right now, medical professionals across the state are forced to reuse face masks. This increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 during a time when we should do everything we can to mitigate it,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We’re not getting the tools we need from the federal government, so it’s on all of us to work together to protect each other.”
Hospitals currently need hospital gowns, ventilators, hand sanitizer, gloves, sanitizer wipes, surgical masks, N95-N100 masks and no-touch thermometers.
“Our clinicians are working tirelessly to care for those affected by this pandemic,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun in a statement. “They deserve to be able to do their jobs safely and these donations will help protect the health and safety of both providers and patients.”
Whitmer’s call for donations comes the same day that Ford, 3M, the UAW, and GE Health Care announced a partnership to create respirators, ventilators and protective face shields.
Teams from Ford and 3M have been repurposing parts like the fans used to create ventilated seats Ford’s F-150 and 3M HEPA air filters to make powered air-purifying respirators.
“Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO, in a statement. “We’ve been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs.”
Ford also said that its first 1,000 face shields will be tested this week at Michigan hospitals and that more than 100,000 face shields can be produced per week.
Michigan currently has more than 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“Our brave medical professionals and first-responders are on the front lines of keeping us safe, and we must do everything we can to protect them and every Michigander we can from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said.
Donations can be made to the Michigan Community Service Commission at [email protected] or 517-335-4295.
– – –
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]