UI Health Care issues request to Iowa businesses asking for protective gear

University of Iowa Health Care leaders released a request to the public, asking for donations of new or used protective face shields to keep staff safe during virus-induced, nationwide shortages.


Riley Davis, News Reporter

University of Iowa Health Care leaders issued a request today for Iowa businesses and other individuals to donate new or used protective face shields to the hospital for employee use. 

The shields will be used to protect staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the number of reported cases increase across the state. UI Health Care currently has its own supply of protective shields for staff members who provide patient care or do screening at hospital entrances. The additional shields will allow for all employees who interact with patients, visitors, and coworkers to wear one. 

“These protective shields are extremely effective — especially for our staff who cannot always maintain a six-foot social distance when interacting with patients, visitors, and colleagues,” said UI Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran in a release. “There is a national shortage, and we need to secure an adequate supply for our needs now and in the future.”

According to a March 19 article from the New York Times, as COVID-19 cases soar, medical personnel are facing a “dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns and eye gear to protect them from the virus.” Some hospitals and health centers are even shutting down due to the shortage, the article said, while others are using loose fitting or expired masks that don’t fit the recommendations given by health agencies.

The release said the shields should be lightweight, adjustable to fit securely, and extend below the user’s chin. The protective equipment can be donated through the UIHC website or by calling their concierge services to pick up or drop off the donations. 

Gunasekaran said that in addition to donating protective face shields to the hospital, the best thing that the public can do to help is to follow proper hand hygiene and social distancing guidelines to prevent the continuing spread of the virus. 

“We are so grateful to the community for all their support and assistance during this crisis,” he said in the release. “The doctors, nurses and health care staff feel the care and concern.”

In a press conference March 17, Dave Wilson, Johnson County Emergency Management director called for personal protective equipment and cleaning supply donations to the emergency management center from nonessential medical services not in operation, such as dentist offices ceasing routine cleaning.

The UI earlier this week provided the following advice for those who believe they may have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms:

DO NOT walk in to QuickCare, Student Health, any UI Health Care clinic, the State Hygienic Lab or any emergency room. Instead, follow these procedures:

It is important to know that your privacy will be maintained by your provider.

Social distancing is how the community can stop the virus from spreading. Remain out of congregate settings, avoid mass gatherings, and maintain safe distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.