MANCHESTER — The response to a call for donated medical supplies has been immediate and overwhelming — in a positive way — for New Hampshire hospitals still bracing for a surge in patients due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospital officials said Sunday that Granite Staters have answered the call generously with masks and other protective equipment to assist medical staff in treating COVID-19 patients.
“The response has been amazing and moving,” said Lauren Collins-Cline, director of communications at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester. “There have been many moments where more than one of us has gotten choked up just by the generosity and the support and the community spirit that we’re seeing.”
Collins-Cline said CMC was still trying to take inventory of everything that has come in since medical centers across the state started seeking donated items last week. The list includes face masks, including models used in construction that can be modified for medical uses; gowns; and full-body protective gear.
CMC also received an anonymous donation of 1,900 face shields, Collins-Cline said.
“We don’t know who they came from but we’re very grateful for them,” Collins-Cline said.
CMC posted an item on Facebook on Sunday listing items it was still in need of — splash guards, N95 masks and other face masks; non-latex gloves; gowns and protective suits; and disinfecting wipes. The post was shared more than 200 times in just a few hours.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health has also been inundated with responses since it put out the call for donated supplies on Thursday, said Dave Coombs, Dartmouth-Hitchcock supply chain manager. In just a few days after the request was made, Coombs said Dartmouth-Hitchcock received items including cleaning supplies, masks and gloves. One donor, who Coombs said may have been a sales representative for a medical supply company, donated around 3,000 procedural masks.
“It’s beyond overwhelming — in a positive sense,” Coombs said. “People who drop off something are so glad to help. People calling in are so glad they’re in the loop.”
Dartmouth-Hitchcock also established a hotline for volunteers looking to help or make donations — 603-650-4217. Coombs said the response to the hotline, which is separate from DH’s coronavirus medical hotline, has also been incredible and that he hasn’t yet had a chance to take a complete inventory of everything that has come in so far.
“We haven’t even gotten to the point of sorting it yet,” Coombs said. “We’ve designated a large conference room at the main campus so that we can start to filter things up there.”
Dartmouth-Hitchcock also began assembling kits for volunteers to sew face masks, an idea that also saw immediate response from people wanting to do something to help out. Dartmouth-Hitchcock announced the mask initiative Saturday and posted about it on Facebook, generating more than 1,400 shares in less than 24 hours.
“We didn’t have any idea that it would be this positive, this overwhelming,” Coombs said. “People are truly looking for a way amidst a very negative situation to do something positive not only to contribute, but to help the whole community feel better individual by individual.”