UMass donates equipment to health providers and first responders

Health providers and first responders in the Amherst area received masks and gloves from UMass.

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Ana Pietrewicz/Daily Collegian

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Assistant Social Editor

The University of Massachusetts donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hospitals around the area to help medics and first responders fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The recipients of these supplies included Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and the Amherst Fire Department.

Supplies such as masks, gloves, gowns and sanitary clothing from campus laboratories were distributed to help medical institutions around the state.

Chief Tim Nelson of AFD said the donation of gowns on last Wednesday exhibited how the community has come together during this time of need.

“It’s a time where folks need to come together. We’re not talking about a few folks affected by this. This is worldwide, everybody has to do their part to help out to make sure that we essentially take care of each other in any way that we can,” Nelson said.

Ana Pietrewicz/Daily Collegian

With the stay at home order issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFD has seen a reduced number of calls, giving firefighters the opportunity to help out medical facilities.

“The biggest thing is that our call line has gone down because the [of] stay at home order. What you have is folks aren’t out and about and getting into the stuff they normally get into,” Nelson said.

Baystate Medical Center was another institution that received supplies such as N95 masks, gloves and cotton-tipped applicators. Donor Outreach Manager at Baystate Medical Center Cait Roberts said Baystate feels thankful for the support of UMass and the community.

“We are incredibly appreciative to UMass for making a donation of personal protective equipment to Baystate Health. It’s wonderful to see how our community comes together in a time of need to help others,” Roberts said.

According to Roberts, Baystate Medical Center has been continuously receiving donations of N95 masks, surgical gowns, gloves and face shields and from individuals and organization around the area, helping healthcare team members fight the pandemic.

Despite the generous donations, COVID-19 is taking the state by storm with 12,500 cases and 231 deaths in Massachusetts as of April 5 according to a report from the Massachusetts Department of Health.

The Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke has been greatly affected by the virus with the Department of Veterans Services spokesman Anthony Preston announcing on Monday that the home had 11 deaths, 11 COVID-19 positive veteran residents as well as five infected staff members.

According to an announcement made by UMass News & Media Relations, executive director of Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management Jeff Hescock said that these donations will help meet critical public needs while the university maintains its ability to protect students, staff and faculty on campus.

“Because we have switched to remote learning, the researchers on campus are doing less in-person activity and that has made this donation of materials possible,” Hescock said. “I want to thank our research community and faculty for their assistance.”

Monetary donations and PPE are being accepted by Baystate Health Fund. Students who are interesting in donating can call 413-794-6552 or email [email protected]

Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached at [email protected]