ROANOKE, Va. – Carilion is asking for the community’s help with getting much-needed medical supplies.
In an effort to keep staff and patients safe, Carilion announced Tuesday that it’s now taking donations, as the shortage of supplies continues across the country.
It’s the latest response to the huge need for Personal Protective Equipment, also known as PPE.
Carilion employees said they’re conserving supplies, but they’ve had to use more, particularly when they think a patient has COVID-19.
They say they need the community’s help to have access to as much as possible and any donations would be greatly appreciated.
“It just allows us to continue to care for our patients and protect the front line -- the nurses, the doctors -- everybody who’s working with the patients to keep them safe,” said Dr. Michael Nussbaum, who oversees the surgery department. “We’ve got limited supplies and limited workforce and we need to protect everybody so that we can take care of the patients.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Habitat for Humanity representatives visited one of the drop-off locations, Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County, to donate masks. It began what Carilion hopes will be a successful week of receiving supplies.
Carilion employees said dealing with the coronavirus has caused a huge strain and they’re working around the clock.
“We’ve been doing okay. It’s been very heartening to see everybody pulling together in the hospital, in the community. It’s a difficult time for everybody, but I think, from the standpoint of doing what we do best, taking care of our patients, I think we’re doing a great job,” Nussbaum said.
The need for supplies comes at a time when health experts still do not have a timetable for when concerns could die down.
“We’re preparing for the long haul,” Nussbaum said. “Optimistically, I hope we don’t need it for months, but we just don’t know. We just don’t know.”
Carilion is asking for the following supplies:
- Latex-free gloves
- Procedural masks
- Surgical masks
- Surgical masks with shield
- Nasal swabs for medical use
- N95 respirators and N95 filters
- Other respirators (P100′s, PAPR’s, and PAPR supplies/parts)
- Face shields
- Splash shields
- Hand sanitizer, greater than 60% alcohol
- Hand soap
- Disposable shoe covers
- Disinfecting wipes
Carilion is accepting donations through Friday or Saturday, depending on the location. People wanting to donate can look for a truck or trailer at the following drop-off locations.
Franklin County High School, 700 Tanyard Road, Rocky Mount, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., March 25-28
Goodwill Store and Donation Center, 186 Boxwood Lane, Pearisburg, 8 a.m - 4:30 p.m., March 24-27
Washington and Lee University Pavilion, 159 West Denny Circle, Lexington, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., March 24
Radford University at the David E. Armstrong Complex Parking Lot E, 501 Stockton Street, Radford, Dates and times TBD
Tanglewood Mall parking lot in front of former JC Penney location, 4420-A Electric Road, Roanoke, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 25-28
The Town of Tazewell Police Department, from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. March 24-27
The latest information on dates and times will be posted here.
Carilion will also be daily updates including on visitor restrictions on the health care provider’s website.
Officials said that right now, they cannot accept handmade items, but they are looking into how they may be able to use them in the future.
Carilion is moving toward more phone calls and video chats and fewer in-person visits for non-emergencies.
When asked how scaled-down they can take their operations, employees said they will always help those in need, so, if someone needs an operation -- cancer patients and trauma patients for example -- they will still be able to get that care.
Many doctors are increasing their office hours so they can speak to patients over the phone and over video chat. Carilion is working on doing even more appointments and consultations remotely.
The change comes after Carilion announced last week that it was postponing many non-essential procedures.
Officials say they don’t want more people to be at risk of getting exposed, and it’s another way to conserve supplies.
Carilion now has a phone line to answer questions from the community: 1-866-604-2873.
People can call weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with questions about signs and symptoms, Carilion guidelines and the resources available.