Nurses group turns to crowd-sourcing for unused protective gear

UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- The shortage of personal protective equipment, particularly masks, is crippling health care workers responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

While medical groups and governors are pressuring the White House for gear from the national stockpile, they're also turning to crowd-sourcing to collect unneeded equipment from the public. It's an effort happening around the nation and in Philadelphia

To Marion Leary, the director of innovation at Penn Nursing, re-using safety masks is a dangerous, unacceptable practice.

So, she's leading the local call in a nationwide drive by SONSIEL, an organization of nurse scientists and innovators, to find unused supplies sitting in cupboards, backrooms, and closets.

SONSIEL, the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrpreneurs, and Leaders, has launched its SHARE campaign to get unused PPE to those on the frontlines of the coronavirus battle/

"We're looking for N95 respirator masks, we're looking for gloves, gowns, goggles," she said.

Disinfectant wipes are also in need.

Leary is urging everyone to look around the house, garage and other storage areas.

"We're also asking local businesses such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, construction companies, dentist offices," Leary said. "Anyone that has a stock of these supplies that they could donate to their local hospitals and healthcare providers."

The group is also looking for monetary donations, via a GoFundMe crowdsourcing site.

So far, the group has collected about 12,000 masks but needs thousands and thousands more before the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

A separate national crowdsourcing effort called "Get Us PPE" is also underway.

The "Get Us PPE" website acts as a central organizing point, to connect donors with those in need.

"Individuals or businesses can go on and register what supplies they have to donate. And also, healthcare providers and hospitals can go on and request supplies that are needed, and then they'll connect them with volunteers who can pick up and drop off supplies," Leary said.

CLICK HERE for a list of Philadelphia-area drop-off points, and to learn more about making PPE supplies.
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