Research labs across Brock University have emptied their supply rooms to help the people who are leading Niagara’s fight against COVID-19.
Thousands of gloves, hundreds of lab coats and goggles, cartons of face masks were loaded into a truck on Tuesday, March 31, and sent to Niagara Health, who will distribute it to front-line health workers at the region’s hospitals.
It was the result of a campus-wide response to the request for much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for Niagara’s health-care providers.
“A lot of it is, people feel the need to be part of the solution and do something,” said Dawn Zinga, Brock’s Acting Associate Vice-President, Research, who was tasked with heading up the University’s response to the call.
Brock’s Vice-President of Research, Tim Kenyon, said the University is doing what it can to support the Niagara region through the pandemic.
“As a research institution, we’re obviously very fortunate to have the materials on hand to be able to do this,” said Kenyon. “We are the community’s university, and the community needs these resources. They need them right now.”
The PPE being donated came from a wide range of faculties and departments such as research labs and services, teaching labs, science stores, the electronics shop, and the Campus Store.
“We are extremely grateful to Brock University for this remarkable show of support and generosity,” said Niagara Health President Lynn Guerriero. “We have always valued our strong partnership with Brock University, and this is another example of that. These donations will help as our health-care team responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In order to limit the risk to front-line staff, much care was taken around how many people were handling the goods and to keep everything in their exterior packaging.
“It’s all about controlling the exposure to the supplies,” said Zinga. “It has been noticeable how conscious people are in not affecting those supplies because the last thing you want to do is cause more risk.”
Zinga thanked everyone involved in the collection and transfer of the PPE, including everyone who identified and provided equipment and those involved in handing the gear over such as Campus Security, Custodial, Facilities Management and others.
“We’re lucky in that we can work remotely, but those medical professionals in front-line roles can’t do that,” she said. “People want to support them and recognize the great work they’re doing out there and the risk they’re taking in doing that.”
Roger Ali, President and CEO of the Niagara Health Foundation said he was “deeply grateful for the support.”
“We are so grateful for the community leadership of Brock University and their dedicated staff and students,” he said. “It is at times like this that Niagara is so fortunate to have a world-class institution stepping up to supply our front-line heroes with the critical protective equipment they need. These items will truly support the health-care professionals as they treat our friends, neighbours and loved ones.”
The Niagara Health Foundation is taking the lead on securing protective equipment and raising funds to purchase additional urgently needed equipment.
Guerriero said “it’s inspiring to see how the Niagara community is pulling together in so many different ways to support each other. A challenging time is bringing out the best in everyone.”
PPE donation by the numbers:
Individual Disposable Gloves: 29,030
Safety glasses: 341 pairs
Lab coats: 1,082
Face masks: 250