A call has gone out for donations of PPE supplies like examination gloves and N95 flyer masks (Wikimedia Commons images)

A call for donations to fight COVID-19 in Langley and elsewhere

B.C. hasn’t run out of protective gear, but supplies are getting low

Calls have gone out for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and updated equipment to help doctors in Langley and other B.C. communities fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Langley, a group of local doctors in the Langley Division of Family Practice have issued a request for PPE gear including N95 masks, which are often used for sanding and fiberglass, “face shields” such as goggles, glasses and shields, clothing protectors and disposable gowns that could include coveralls that painters use.

They’re also looking for donations of hand sanitizer, gloves and 99.9 per cent disinfecting Cavi wipes and cleaners.

READ ALSO: An inside look at the COVID-19 battle at Langley Memorial Hospital

“If your organization is not using any of the above, or has a way to find some of these supplies, our medical community here in Langley would really appreciate any assistance,” said spokesperson Barb Stack.

To donate, email Barb.stack@ldfp.org.

According to an online statement, the establishment of local family practice divisions within BC was the result of a province-wide initiative “to improve patient care, increase family physicians’ influence on health care delivery and policy, and increase professional satisfaction for physicians.”

Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH) Foundation has made a call for donations to help replace “outdated” equipment.

Foundation executive director Vivian Smith said there “is an urgent need to replace five outdated life support ventilators in the critical care unit.”

“They’re used temporarily for conditions like pneumonia, but it may be needed longer for someone with lung failure,” Smith explained.

Each unit costs $58,000 and will help to support the more than 1,600 respiratory patients we see every year.

Also on the list, three new nebulizers which cost $210 each, used to deliver medication in the form of mist, inhaled into the lungs.

Smith said the LMH ER needs a new Optiflow System, which costs $3,900.

“The system provides important respiratory support, airway hydration and improves patient comfort and helps provide supplemental oxygen,” Smith said.

Donations can be made online at https://lmhfoundation.com.

It also issued a call for donations of “spare personal protective equipment” such as examination gloves, respirator masks, surgical masks, protective gowns, eye protection, hand sanitizer, and medical-grade disinfectant wipes.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Feeding front-line medical responders at Langley Memorial Hospital

A similar call for supplies went province-wide when SafeCare BC launched “Operation Protect.”

While the province “is currently not experiencing any shortages of PPE we are preparing to meet future needs,” a SafeCare statement explained.

SafeCare BC is seeking donations of examination gloves, respirator masks, surgical masks, protective gowns, eye protection, hand sanitizer, and medical-grade disinfectant wipes.

In the four days since the request was made, 93 individuals and businesses have contributed more than 53,000 PPE supplies, including 33,000 exam gloves, 17,800 N95 respirator masks, and 22 litres of hand sanitizer.

Jen Lyle, CEO of SafeCare BC, was grateful.

“It’s heartening to see British Columbians come together and support health care workers during this exceptional time,” Lyle remarked.

“But we know the need will become even more critical in the coming weeks, with the increased use of this equipment to protect workers and those in care, and before supply networks are able to return to normal. We continue to receive messages daily from our member organizations telling they are low on protective equipment for their workers.”

To review the full donation criteria and process, and to donate PPE, contact SafeCare BC at: https://www.safecarebc.ca/operationprotect/donate/

Established in 2013, SafeCare BC is an industry funded, non-profit association working to ensure injury free, safe working conditions for continuing care workers in BC.

It is working with the Ministry of Health to collect the PPE equipment,. which will be added to the provincial supply, then distributed to hospitals and care organizations, including long-term care, home care, community health support, and assisted living facilities.

Elsewhere, a Langley-based GoFundMe campaign has been launched by the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club to raise $10,000 to buy protective masks and a ventilator for Langley Memorial Hospital.

Entitled “FVVC Hospital Ventilator & Masks,” the campaign had raised just under $2,000 as of Saturday morning.

In the GoFundMe online message, organizer Carol Hofer explained that a former FVVC coach’s husband was an ER doctor who let her know that “they only have eight ventilators in the whole hospital and are at a critical stage for masks to keep their staff safe during this Covid-19 crisis.”

At a Wednesday, March 25th briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the supply of masks, gloves and medical gowns for doctors, nurses and other health workers was running low.

“The burn rate is much more than we expected,” Henry commented. “That’s our wicked problem.”

She said health officials were considering stockpiling, reusing and searching globally for more protective gear.

Health Minister Adrian Dix has previously said B.C. has adequate supplies of protective equipment, including respirators and ventilators for patients. He also said more supplies have been ordered and were expected to arrive shortly.

– with files from Canadian Press



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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