As Adventist Health Lodi Memorial starts to run low on protective gear like masks and gloves, the local community has been stepping up.
More than 10,000 masks — from surgical masks to homemade cotton masks to the coveted N95 respirators — have been donated to the Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation, which coordinates donations to the hospital.
“We’ve had some large farming operations donate some N95 masks,” said Wayne Craig, president and CEO of the LMH Foundation.
A general contractor dropped off a container of unused N95 masks left over from a job, he added.
The N95 respirators, which cover the nose and mouth and include a respirator that filters out particulates, are desperately needed for doctors and nurses treating patients infected with COVID-19. The surgical and cloth masks shouldn’t be used with coronavirus patients, but can be used in other areas of the hospital, preserving the respirators for the pandemic, Craig said.
“We’re still treating all conditions at Lodi Memorial, so we have to think about all our patients,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently announced that, in certain crisis situations, hospitals can make use of homemade masks.
“In settings where facemasks are not available, (health care providers) might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered (personal protective equipment), since their capability to protect (health care providers is unknown,” the CDC wrote in new guidelines issued on March 17. “Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”
However, the CDC has not issued guidelines for how the masks should be made or what materials they can be made from, Craig said.
The foundation prefers masks made from cotton material, he said. Several websites have released free patterns online, he said.
However, real surgical masks and gloves are also sorely needed.
“Of course, the highest need is the N95 mask,” Craig said. He hopes that Lodians who might have some stockpiled for use at their construction or farm jobs can spare a few.
The LMH Foundation is accepting donations from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at their office, located at 845 S. Fairmont St., Suite 3, in Lodi. Donors should call 209-339-7833 to ensure that someone is there to take their donation.
Donors are asked to include their name and contact information, including email, with their donations, Craig said.
The foundation is also taking monetary donations to help the hospital.
“We do need as much financial support as we can, because the entire system is stretched now,” Craig said.
Donations can be made online at www.lmhfoundation.org, dropped through the mail slot between suites 2 and 3 at 845 S. Fairmont St., or mailed through the post office.
The LMH Foundation and Adventist Health Lodi Memorial are very grateful to the local community for their help, Craig said.
“We have an incredibly loyal donor community in Lodi for all of our charities, and particularly the hospital,” he said. “It’s been amazing what’s happened in this town compared to other towns.”