BGSU supports local agencies

As hospitals and other safety organizations, like fire departments, police stations and the American Red Cross, tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage of essential personal protective equipment and facilities has been making headlines.

Bowling Green State University campuses in Huron and Bowling Green, as well as BGSU at Levis Commons, are answering the call by donating PPE supplies and space to organizations in both communities.

“As a public university, we’re committed to doing our part to support the public good in this time of need,” said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. “We’re happy to be able to make a contribution to help protect the people on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

At BGSU Firelands, PPE donations have been coordinated through Erie County Emergency Management. Two pickups were made this week and another is scheduled. Supplies have also been donated directly to the Port Clinton Fire Department, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and Danbury Township Fire Department.

“We didn’t think twice about it,” said BGSU Firelands Dean Andy Kurtz. “We know that supplies are running low and we have those supplies in our nursing and allied health labs, which aren’t currently being used.”

Items donated so far include procedure masks, N95 masks, isolation gowns, procedure gowns, wipes and respiratory care supplies.

“By collaborating with our local partners, many of whom we already have relationships with, we have been able to quickly assess our supply and get items distributed to agencies that need them,” said PJ Mays, assistant dean at BGSU Firelands.

Kurtz added that nursing program partner Lorain County Community College graciously agreed to the donation of its supplies at the Firelands campus as well.

The Bowling Green campus worked with the Wood County Health Department to coordinate the donation of tens of thousands of gloves and googles to the Wood County Hospital Thursday.

“It’s been a complete team effort,” said Dr. Jon Sprague, Bureau of Criminal Investigation eminent scholar for the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science at BGSU. “It was a way we could all get involved and help out the community.”

Supply donations came from a variety of campus units including forensic science, biology, chemistry and the School of Earth, Environment and Society.

While blood donations are also always needed, the American Red Cross is currently facing a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations. BGSU has responded to this need by offering space in the Perry Field House and at BGSU at Levis Commons. Three drives have been held so far and will continue into April.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put us in a unique situation to help,” said Sherideen Stoll, chief financial officer and vice president, finance and administration. “While these facilities cannot be fully open to students and employees, they provide the perfect space for the American Red Cross, which follows stringent safety protocols, to hold drives to help meet patient needs.”

The drives have been a success, with 26 first-time donors attending the latest drive.

“Because of this wonderful space, we have the ability to spread out the beds to social distancing standards, which has been the reason many of our drives have had to cancel,” said Diane Smith, American Red Cross Bloods Services account manager. “Donors have been coming out in record numbers; the Bowling Green community drive is really making a difference in northwest Ohio.”

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