As Hospitals Face Severe Shortages, the MBL Lends a Hand
A critical national shortage of surgical masks, gloves, and other protective gear for medical workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the Marine Biological Laboratory to scour its labs and storerooms for supplies to donate to the local health system.
“We are donating about 20,000 pairs of non-latex gloves and hundreds of other pieces of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) to Cape Cod Healthcare,” says David Mark Welch, MBL Director of Research. MBL is also expecting a shipment of masks from a colleague overseas and will donate these when they arrive.
Global shortages of PPE for medical workers began to surface in mid-February, as the rise of coronavirus cases coincided with one of the worst flu seasons in years. Medical centers across the country are now pleading for supplies, many under the Twitter hashtag #GetMePPE.
The MBL may also help relieve the severe shortage of patient tests for COVID-19 infection. The standard test works by identifying the virus’s genetic material in the patient sample. One of the supplies needed for the test – viral transport kits – could be “made from scratch” in MBL labs, Mark Welch says. The MBL stands ready to make viral transport kits, should the hospital system request them.
All community members can drop off PPE and other critically needed supplies for Cape Cod Healthcare at five drop-off sites on Cape Cod. Items needed, listed by priority, are:
- Isolation Gowns
- Face Shields
- Surgical Masks
- Nitrile Gloves
- 3M N95 Masks # 1860,1860S & 1870
- Disinfectant Wipes
- No Touch or Forehead Thermometers
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our local community and friends,” wrote Michael Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare, in a message to the community. “It is a true indication of how challenging times can test the strength of a community – and clearly Cape Cod has banded together during this COVID-19 crisis."
The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery – exploring fundamental biology, understanding marine biodiversity and the environment, and informing the human condition through research and education. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.