Nurses collecting N95 masks outside Bucks County medical center

LANGHORNE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Staff at St. Mary Medical Center, in Bucks County, are asking for people to donate unused N95 masks.

Currently, the staff has an adequate supply of masks, however, they are collecting more masks, as COVID-19 continues to spread.

"About 10 masks in one box, whatever little I can do I'm going to do," said William Bronson, from Yardley, who dropped off a box of masks Sunday.

He said he bought a box in January and just decided to donate it to the medical center.

"The doctors and nurses here who are on the front lines are going to be able to use them much better than I can," said Bronson.

Nurses said that currently the hospital has an adequate supply, but they're preparing for the future at as the novel Coronavirus continues to spread.

"If we become positive, then it takes people from the front lines, and there's going to be a shortage of nurses if things become pretty bad," said Bill Engle, a nurse at St. Mary.

Emergency Room Doctor and President of St. Mary Lawrence Brilliant said that the virus is spread by droplets, when you sneeze or cough onto a surface.

"It's when you touch that surface, and you place your hand to your mouth that you could potentially get infected with the virus, so wearing (a mask) out in public is not helpful because it's not an aerosolized environment," he said. "In the hospital, however, we're dealing with an environment at times where it could be aerosolized, where we have a patient on a ventilator, and we could be spraying the virus."

Dr. Brilliant said that's why it's important for the community to bring their unused N95 masks, so that the doctors and nurses can have an adequate supply.

Staff said they are also collecting elastomeric respirators, as well.

"I'm extremely appreciative I'm able to go home and self-isolate, and I know these nurses, they have families too, but they're putting themselves at risk for the benefit of all of us in the community," said Bronson.

Dr. Brilliant also wanted to make it clear that if people are having a true medical emergency that they can come in. Although the medical center is dealing with Coronavirus, they are also here to serve the basic needs of the community.

Nurses plan to be outside St. Mary for the rest of the week, collecting masks from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

NOTE: As of Monday morning the collection location has moved to the Carty Conference Center, located around the back of the hospital in the building across from the ER entrance. The collection times remain the same, from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.