Community answers call from local doctors for protective equipment
KITCHENER -- With personal protective equipment (PPE) needed at medical clinics across the country, local doctors put out a call for help online in order to get supplies into the hands of those who need them most.
That call has been eagerly answered by individuals and businesses across Waterloo, including at Kitchener’s Westmount Golf & Country Club where a normally busy time of year has been put on pause.
“With COVID-19 we obviously don’t have much traffic in the building or no traffic at all,” said Brad Duench, general manager of Westmount Golf & Country Club.
The club closed its doors to the public on March 16th and instead of wasting all that spare space the curling club lounge and rink will turn into a storage area for PPE.
“As product comes in and needs to be distributed back out to the healthcare community we are going to sort it and make sure it gets organized properly,” said Duench.
It all started with a website called covidhealth.ca that was created by a group of local doctors.
“My husband and I paid for all this out of our own pockets and we are happy to front that cost because we think this is something that is so important,” Dr. Sarah Rinaldi, co-creator of covidhealth.ca
The goal of the website is to act as a centralized hub to help health professionals access PPE like gloves, masks and gowns.
Something clinics like the Nith Valley Family Practice are low on.
“Just yesterday in clinic I saw 6 people and I had to change 6 times,” explained Rinaldi.
According to a recent survey by health professionals at the clinic, more than 50 percent of clinics in the region would run out of equipment in less than a week with the current resources they have.
The website went live on Sunday and is already taking off.
“In the first two hours we had over 30 emails,” said Rinaldi.
Companies donating their supplies and skills like Kitchener manufacturer Inksmith.
“We make this face shield and this band. We assemble this, we wash it and we ship it out,” said Jeremy Hedges, president of Inksmith.
Inksmith plans to donate more than 3,000 shields and they're also making laser cut versions that will be sold.
“This is the fully laser cut one that we'll be able to mass manufacture to hopefully get ahead of the PPE shortage,” said Hedges.
If you don't have equipment to give, the group behind covidhealth.ca is also hoping for online donations to help pay for things like gas to pick up and deliver products.