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Gov. Whitmer calls for medical supplies

LANSING — In the face of critical shortages of medical supplies, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a March 24 release called on Michigan residents and businesses to donate essential medical supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals.

The items most needed, she said, are: Hospital gowns, ventilators, hand sanitizers and wipes, gloves, surgical masks, N95-N100 masks, and no-touch thermometers.

“Right now, medical professionals across the state are forced to reuse face masks,” Gov. Whitmer said in her release. “This increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 during a time when we should do everything we can to mitigate it. We’re not getting the tools we need from the federal government, so it’s on all of us to work together to protect each other. “

Several downstate Michigan businesses have stepped up in the last two weeks to manufacture personal protective equipment for Michiganders, the release states. On Tuesday, Ford, 3M, the UAW, and GE Health Care announced a partnership to manufacture respirators to help Michiganders fight the spread of COVID-19. Distilleries like Coppercraft Distillery in Holland and Mammoth Distilling in Traverse City have announced plans to manufacture and distribute hand sanitizer to health care providers in their areas.

Donations of essential items will be used to meet medical providers’ most pressing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The critical shortages of medical supplies are also being felt at the Detroit Veteran’s Medical Center, which stated in a March 22 email, that the VA center is in need of medical supplies, particularly N-95 masks and face shields, due to supply-chain disruptions, according to an email from Ms. Marty Eddy. Marty Eddy. Eddy is the state coordinator of the National League of POW/MIA Families, and the secretary/treasurer of POW Committee of Michigan.

Bill Browning, chief of volunteer & community relations at the Dingell VAMC in Detroit, is recorded in the email as stating that the center needs assistance from retired or unemployed healthcare providers, as well as screening assistance for guests entering the hospital.

The shortage of PPE supplies is not limited to facilities in Lansing and Detroit. Tracy Samilton, of Michigan Radio, reported on Sunday that hospitals are having trouble locating enough personal protective gear via their normal supply channels, including, also, disposable masks, gloves, caps, foot covers, and gowns, and again, N95 respirator masks, face shields, and safety goggles. Locally, there is no report on whether supplies are adequate.

On March 24, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department said that as 2 p.m Tuesday, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the five counties covered by the WUPHD.

“There is no known vaccination against COVID-19,” says Cathryn A. Beer, Health Officer for the WUPHD. “Strong prevention efforts are our best defense against this illness. We will continue to work together to minimize the spread of illness and protect health should local cases be confirmed.”

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