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medical mask and glovesThe University of Windsor is donating disposable gowns, gloves, masks, and other supplies to frontline hospital staff testing for the COVID-19 virus.

University donates medical supplies to COVID-19 testing centre

The University of Windsor is donating boxes of disposable gowns, gloves, masks, and other supplies needed by frontline hospital staff testing local residents for the COVID-19 virus.

It will be the second shipment of items donated by the University to Windsor Regional Hospital. Last week the Faculty of Nursing donated items from its inventory and Tuesday donated two ventilators for the hospital’s use.

“To me, this shows the power between researchers and the hospital,” said UWindsor researcher Lisa Porter, executive director of WE-Spark Health Institute, a research partnership involving the University of Windsor, Windsor Regional Hospital, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, and St. Clair College.

Porter said the items collected from labs in the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Human Kinetics, and the University’s Chemical Control Centre, will be delivered Friday. The Faculty of Science has pledged cover the costs of the donated items from its labs, reimbursing the individual researchers who paid for the items out of their research grants.

“The response from faculty and staff across campus has been amazing,” said Chris Houser, dean of the Faculty of Science. “They want to help in any way they can because they see the University as an important community partner.” 

Chemists in his faculty are also making hand sanitizer that will be distributed to local healthcare facilities.

Items like disposable masks, gowns, gloves and shoe coverings, hand sanitizer, face shields, safety glass, respirators, ventilators, and other medical equipment are in short supply around the globe as countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments have urged people not to hoard such supplies in their homes since communities are better served if the items are used by those medical personnel who most need them.

The Faculty of Nursing, with its close relationship to local hospitals, was the first to respond with donations of medical supplies from the University. From the supplies used for training its students, the faculty was able to donate disposable masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other items. It also donated the ventilators Windsor Regional Hospital picked up Tuesday.

“I’m very pleased that the community is coming together and that the university, including the Faculty of Nursing, is able to help,” said dean of nursing Linda Patrick.

Windsor Regional Hospital has established a COVID-19 assessment centre. It is one of several across the province set up to test people who think they might have the virus.

Since it began operating March 16, hospital staff there have seen about 700 patients. Swabs were collected from about half of them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an international shortage of critical personal protective equipment,” said Gisele Seguin, executive director of the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation. “The University of Windsor’s willingness to help will ensure our frontline staff are able to remain healthy and safe. Their generosity will save lives during this crisis. Thank you from all of us at Windsor Regional Hospital.”

—Sarah Sacheli

grocery cart and shelvesVolunteers will help UWindsor retirees take delivery of groceries and other necessities during pandemic precautions.

Retirees association marshalling volunteer delivery service

Members of the Windsor University Retirees Association are stepping up to help their fellows who may experience difficulties getting groceries and other necessities during the social distancing required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We, the senior citizens, are told that we are the most vulnerable for the coronavirus, especially if we have other underlying health issues,” says association president Roger Lauzon.

He circulated a message to members last week letting them know that Carol Reader, wife of the former dean of engineering Graham Reader, offered to pick up groceries for them. She was joined by executive members Jake Soderlund, Jonathan Bayley, and Richard Lewis in volunteering their services.

They are available for requests:

“If you need help getting your groceries or other needs, please use this new WURA service,” Lauzon says. “We are thinking about you at this time.”

The association has suspended its meetings and other activities until further notice.

Local Love logoUnited Way is calling on supporters to donate money and time to food banks struggling to meet demand for aid.

Food banks issue call for help

Local food banks are weeks, if not days, away from being empty, reports the United Way, and face a dramatic increase in the number of people who will require emergency food as businesses close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Way Windsor-Essex County is working alongside partners to develop a co-ordinated action plan to help vulnerable people affected, says Stefanie Slavik, the charity’s relationship manager.

“As the citizens of Windsor-Essex County adjust to many new challenges, people who already rely on meal programs and services will be facing additional struggles,” she says. “The absence of school nutrition programs will make it harder for children and families to cope.”

Slavik notes that some food banks have already closed due to insufficient staff, volunteers, and food donations.

United Way and the newly-formed Emergency Food Action Coalition are working to identify solutions to these challenges, and are circulating a list of actions for consideration by those concerned:

Share information – Tell others about the need and the call to action to give to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund. Visit www.weareunited.com/covid-19 to learn more about how you can help and what’s being done.

Donate – Help food banks and meal programs provide emergency food and supports in response to the pandemic. All gifts to the Emergency Response Fund come back to United Way to support local service providers.

Volunteer – The coalition is developing a plan to involve local volunteers with the safety of vulnerable residents as the priority. If you can help with the emergency response, contact Susan Merryfield at rsvp@weareunited.com.