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Nonprofits team up to supply hospitals, but need more help

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

About 20 percent of the people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are health care workers who are often treating very sick patients without any personal protective equipment, according to several state health departments.

Many have resorted to improvising masks and gowns or reusing them for days, putting them at risk of being infected. In turn, they’re in danger of spreading the virus to patients as well as their families when they go home.

“What we’re hearing from the front lines is that they just don’t have enough,” says Nancy Belcher, the CEO of the King County Medical Society.

Belcher says it’s complicated by the fact that some hospitals are frequently changing the rules about what the doctors and nurses are allowed or not allowed to wear.

The nonprofit organization has launched an effort to produce hospital-grade PPE while much of the supplies from the state and federal level are in limbo. The organization got seed money from Expedia and has teamed up with Lighthouse Uniforms. Out of work tailors from the Seattle Opera, the Seattle Ballet and others are sewing the masks. They’ve already made thousands but they need your help with donations to continue their work.

The King County Medical Society also wants to make telehealth an option for more doctors and patients.

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“Hospitals were already at capacity, before this pandemic. Now, there’s no place for those patients to go,” Belcher said.

They need webcams, headphones, laptops, and iPhones so that patients who have CoVid symptoms or other medical needs can get help without having to go into an ER or clinic. Belcher is calling on companies like Microsoft or Amazon to donate old equipment that could support more telehealth options.

To donate or find out more about these efforts, you can go to: kcmsociety.org or mail donations to:
King County Medical Society
200 Broadway,
Seattle, WA 98122

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