MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WBOY) – The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust announced Tuesday that it has purchased $1.3 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for several West Virginia hospitals and first responders.
The purchase, coordinated through the West Virginia University Health System, includes 1,149,000 procedural masks, 163,025 surgical masks, 116,120 N95 respirators, 290,180 disposable gowns, 29,400 pairs of protective eyewear (goggles and glasses), and 40,000 disposable suits, according to a news release. Recipients of the PPE will include the hospitals of WVU Medicine, Monongalia EMS, Roane General Hospital, Wheeling Hospital, Princeton Community Hospital, Davis Health System, Minnie Hamilton Health System, Weirton Medical Center, Thomas Health System, Boone Memorial Hospital, and Mountain Health System.
The supplies will arrive starting this week and everything should be delivered by next week.
“Now, more than ever, is the time for those who can help to step forward to help our hospitals and first responders during the COVID-19 crisis,” Stephen Farmer, chairman of the Ruby McQuain Trust Board of Trustees, said. “Our challenge to everyone who can help is to jump in and do so. Every bit helps, and our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers all need our support. We need to protect our healthcare professionals so they can safely protect us,” Farmer said.
Farmer said it’s the trust’s sincere hope that that equipment is never used for the purpose of containing an outbreak and that it instead becomes inventory to use on a routine basis going forward. However, he added it’s very gratifying to know that if it is needed hospital will have it.
“This is an incredibly kind and generous donation, and the timing of it could not be better,” Albert Wright, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “On behalf of our frontline staff and the entire workforce at WVU Medicine, as well as the staff at all the other hospitals that will receive PPE through this amazing gift, we are deeply grateful to the leaders of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust. They continue to honor Hazel Ruby McQuain’s legacy and her generous spirit and compassion through gifts such as this. This gift will save lives,” Wright stated.
The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust has a long history of helping West Virginians in many ways. “We need to be united and we should unite around doing right,” concluded Farmer.
Wright said WVU Medicine directly purchased the PPE from manufacturers in China and Vietnam because they are now registered as an importer with the Food And Drug Administration. They had registered as an importer a while back, but it has been advantageous in the midst of this crisis.
Nationwide there is a shortage of PPE so when they turned to the federal and state government, as well as their national vendors they could not provide the level and amount of product they needed Wright said.
“What we did when we calculated this order, we tried to look at what we were going to need through the end of May,” Wright said. “Hopefully it’ll take us through the end of May and then we’re going to poke our head back up and reevaluate where we’re at.”
Wright said he wouldn’t be surprised if they have to make another bulk order but it would be easier now that they have already established a direct pipeline with manufacturers. One unique thing about the order, Wright said, was that they bought reusable masks that they will be disinfecting. This will allow care providers to have three or four in rotation, they can actively use one while the others are being disinfected overnight.
Fitted masks will be provided to patients who have known or suspected cases of COVID-19 or are going to need procedures, Wright said.
“Because after we get through the surge, you’ going to see the healthcare system start to move to a recovery phase where we start to see patients again and take care of and do surgeries and procedures,” Wright said. “Remember, as we hit the surge COVID isn’t going to go away, this is going to be around for quite a while so having this PPE and being able to take care of folks regardless of their past or present infection rate is going to be very important.”
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