UNC Health, WakeMed ask public for help with urgently needed equipment

Posted 3/27/20

UNC Health and WakeMed on Monday enacted additional visitor restrictions, prohibiting visitors from their hospitals’ inpatient areas.

The regional hospital systems have also expressed urgent …

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UNC Health, WakeMed ask public for help with urgently needed equipment

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Posted

UNC Health and WakeMed on Monday enacted additional visitor restrictions, prohibiting visitors from their hospitals’ inpatient areas.

The regional hospital systems have also expressed urgent needs for more medical supplies as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in central North Carolina, especially protective masks and nasal swabs.

They are asking community organizations, corporations and individuals to donate these and other much-needed medical supplies to help protect medical workers and patients.

Though the need for items varies by facility, currently, the biggest overall need is additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a “most urgent” need for N95 masks, surgical masks, and surgical masks with shields.

Both health care organizations report that they are conserving key supplies and “are prepared to play a significant role in our community’s response to COVID-19,” a press release from UNC Health states, adding that “community assistance could help us extend our ability to provide care as our hospitals receive higher numbers of coronavirus patients.”

The health care providers continue to urge North Carolinians to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for social distancing and staying home as much as possible.

UNC Health reports, however, that during this critical time many generous individuals, nonprofits, private companies and others are reaching out to offer support as the health care systems enlist the community’s aid in gearing up.

“At this critical time, we are calling on our community to donate supplies that will help ensure we can continue to protect our patients, providers, and staff,” said Dr. Wesley Burks, CEO of UNC Health. “This situation is unprecedented, and we are asking for extra help.”

UNC Health and WakeMed will consider any of the following items for donations: (most urgent needs) N95 masks; surgical mask; surgical masks with shield; nasal swabs for medical use; (Other Needs) disinfectant; eye protection, including safety goggles/glasses; face shield; gloves, disposable; gowns, disposable; hand sanitizer, greater than 60 percent alcohol; hand soap; shoe covers, disposable; handmade masks.

UNC Health has established drop-off locations for supplies and hours as follows:

UNC Health Learning Street, 2001 Carrington Mill Blvd., Morrisville. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 25-27.

UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont, 100 Sprunt Street, Chapel Hill. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 28.

UNC Wellness Center at Northwest Cary, 350 Stonecroft Lane, Cary. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 28.

Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh, 4200 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. through March 27.

WakeMed will accept donated supplies to be allocated to the areas of greatest needs as it relates to the COVID-19 response. Anyone with unopened supplies that may be useful in the response effort are urged to email WakeMed at info@wakemed.org with details regarding available items. Hospital officials said that due to high volume, all individuals and organizations that email will be contacted within 24-48 hours regarding the items and the process for making the donation. Only new, unopened packages of supplies will be accepted. WakeMed is not accepting handmade items.

In addition, 100 percent of monetary donations to the WakeMed Foundation’s COVID-19 response will go directly to urgent initiatives. More information can be found at www.wakemed.org/covid-19-donation-page.

UNC Health may additionally open “pop-up” donation centers as needed, and urges people with supplies to donate to look for updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

More information can be found at https://www.unchealthcare.org/coronavirus/ways-to-help/. If you have a question about donations email covidsupplies@unchealth.unc.edu.

In addition, the REX Healthcare Foundation in Raleigh can coordinate donated items. Visit www.rexhealthcarefoundation.com, call 919-784-4424, or email Rex.foundation@unchealth.unc.edu for more information.

Meanwhile, effective Monday, Duke Health, UNC Health (UNC Medical Center, UNC REX, Chatham Hospital, UNC Hillsborough and Johnston Health) and WakeMed added additional restrictions on hospital visitors to protect the health and well-being of patients, visitors and team members due to concerns related to COVID-19.

Enhanced restrictions call for no visitors to be permitted in the hospitals’ inpatient areas. The additional limitations do not apply to clinics or some outpatient facilities, and include exceptions unique to each hospital system. As previously announced by the health care providers, the exceptions still limit visitors to one per patient, and all visitors will be screened for illness.

Randall Rigsbee can be reached at rigsbee@chathamnr.com.

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