March 25, 2020 Rich Rezler
Note: This story was updated with additional donations on March 29.
The healthcare industry's shortage of face masks, gloves and other protective equipment has been well-documented during the COVID-19 outbreak. WCC's Health Sciences Division has done its part to provide local hospitals with the critical supplies they need.
On Monday, department personnel made deliveries of supplies from the college’s labs to three hospitals where its students perform their clinical rotations. Nursing Department chair Theresa Bucy delivered to St. Joseph Mercy-Ann Arbor, Surgical Technology/Sterile Processing director Elizabeth Connors to St. Joseph Mercy-Livingston and Surgical Technology/Sterile Processing faculty member Kathryn Hernandez to Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn.
On Tuesday, Public Safety Security Officer Evan Nelson helped Valerie Greaves, Dean of Health Sciences, fill the back of her SUV (pictured above) for another delivery to St. Joseph Mercy-Ann Arbor.
In all, the college donated:
- 120 boxes of gloves
- 100 boxes of face masks
- 32 boxes of surgical gowns
- 100 splash aprons
- Other important supplies, including eye shields, shoe covers, disinfectant and hand sanitizer
"It was so rewarding seeing how excited healthcare workers were to see us show up with that many supplies," Greaves said. "At the same time, it was very humbling, because there were community members showing up to donate a small pack of face masks they had at home. At this time, every donation is important — big or small."
Although the most logical choice to have relevant supplies on hand, Health Sciences was not the only WCC program to step up when a call went out across campus.
Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management faculty member Chris Troiano found some helpful products in the program's kitchens, including 39 boxes of gloves, a case of sanitation tablets, a case of polyethylene aprons, a case of food service towels and seven pairs of safety goggles.
That donation was sent to St. Joseph Mercy-Ann Arbor, along with 27 pairs of safety goggles, three pair of safety glasses and a box of gloves rounded up by Chemistry instructor Breege Concannon.
"Those were the only unused ones we still had in the department," Concannon said. "We didn't have much, but anything is better than nothing for the health care workers."
Making face masks
The need for PPE continues, so the Health Sciences Division continues to help.
At the request of St. Joseph Mercy-Ann Arbor, Nursing faculty member Theresa Dubiel (pictured below) is leading a group of employees who are working to create their own facemasks for donation and encourage the public to do the same.
Online resources provide video instructions for making a deaconess mask, along with scientific information on the best materials to use for the masks.
The drop-off site for the masks is St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Towsley Health Building, 5361 McAuley Drive, Ypsilanti. The drop-off area is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. There are also drop-off sites at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Chelsea and Livingston County.
The WCC Health Sciences Division includes the college's Nursing, Health Science and Allied Health departments. Allied Health is made up of the Dental Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiography, and Surgical Technology/Sterile Processing programs.
The American Association of Community Colleges urged all community colleges nationwide to donate equipment from their health-related classes to local hospitals and other healthcare facilities.