Ways you can help as states scramble for ventilators, other supplies

Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 30, 2020

The nation’s doctors and nurses are pleading for ventilators, masks, and other personal protection equipment while they fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We’re trying to get more ventilators for the sickest patients," said Dr. Chris Farnitino, who runs the Contra Costa County Health Deptartment. "We’re trying to get more personal protective equipment, gloves, masks gowns, eye shields for all of our health care workers and first responders. We need all of the above."

Contra Costa County is one county in the San Francisco Bay Area. For his team, time is running short.

“As far as when we need it, we are already seeing our cases increase exponentially," he said. "We think we may be a week or two behind where New York City is."

The Bay Area is one of the areas around the country ramping up for a massive influx of COVID-19 patients in the coming days and weeks. Right now, they don’t have what they need.

“Currently, in Contra Costa County we have about 1,000 hospital beds, and approximately 150 of those are intensive care unit beds,” said Farnitino.

He says that number needs to at least double. Nearly 1.2 million people live in that county.

New York is facing similar, if not even more dire, circumstances. New York Gov. Cuomo described the situation as a bullet train hitting New York City, and they need more supplies for the coming weeks.

“We do not yet have secured a supply for three weeks from now, four weeks from now, five weeks from now, but we are still shopping,” Coumo said in a press conference.

The situation is serious, if not dire. But there is some help coming.

“We, by the way, now have six California companies, six that want to manufacture gowns," Gov. Gavin Newsome, California (D) told constiuents in a press conference. "We just had a conversation with 25 providers that want to start 3-D printing masks in the state of California."

And companies like 3M, which manufacturers the sought-after N95 masks, says they have increased production to produce almost 100 million N95 masks per month.

And you can help too. There are lots of examples of ways to donate money or PPE directly to the healthcare workers who need it. One of the easiest and simplest may be to go to donateppe.org . The website is aggregating donations and drives around the country.

Of course, the best way to help right now, stay at home and maintain social distancing from others is the best way to help limit the spread of the disease at the moment.