CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition, a recently formed group of volunteers looking to help address medical supply shortages amid the COVID-19 coronavirus, held a medical supply drive in Laramie on April 1.
“The effort, organized by volunteers from the Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition (WTCC), amassed 33,930 gloves, 529 N95 masks, 282 other masks, 123 safety glasses/goggles, 118 gowns, and lots of sanitizing products,” Lois Wingerson wrote in a WTCC release.
Some supplies will be donated to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie while others will be distributed throughout the state.
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Wingerson explained the drive in Laramie further.
“Donors and organizers worked hard yesterday to maintain social distancing on the eerily empty University of Wyoming (UW) campus in Laramie, while collecting much-needed medical supplies for hospitals statewide,” she wrote.
WTCC member Samatha Alford spearheaded the supply drive, according to Wingerson. Alford is working toward a Master’s degree in fisheries and biology at UW.
“I heard from people in other states how there was this urgent need for PPE [personal protective equipment],” the release quotes Alford. “Being involved in research at the University, I knew that the University had lots of PPE in their labs that they weren’t using right now, because the university is shut down. I began thinking that probably a lot of organizations have PPE that they can donate.”
UW Assistant Professor of Computer Science Lars Kotthoff also helped with the drive, Wingerson says.
“It was surprising how much stuff we got,” Kotthoff said in the release. “I was kind of worried we’d be there for 4 hours and a few people would show up in the first half hour and give us a few bottles of hand sanitizer.”
“There were people from research labs at UW with massive carts piled high, and a guy from the welding shop dropped off 240 N95 masks in a box that they had sitting in some corner that they had essentially forgotten about. At some point we had the Vice President of Economic Research and Development hanging out and chatting with us. Then there were people who came up on their bicycles and gave us the open canister of bleach they had found in their laundry.”
Alford prepared guidleines for the drive and has been sharing those guidelines with other communities, Wingerson says.
“She’s been sharing them with people in other communities who have started reaching out to her for guidance about starting their own supply drives,” reads the release. “Volunteers also sanitized the donations based on instructions from the hospitals that will receive them.”
After the success of the Laramie drive, the WTCC will be holding a similar medical supply drive in Casper at the Natrona County Public Library.
The NC Public Library’s Adult Services Specialist Conrrado Saldivar is organizing that drive.
“Personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply due to COVID-19,” the WTCC says. “The Wyoming Technology Coronavirus Coalition (WTCC) is collecting medical supply donations on Wednesday April 7th from 9am-4pm at the Natrona County Library. Please donate any unused PPE (opened or unopened).”
Supplies which are needed include (asterisks indicate priority needs):
- *Face shields
- *Nitrile Gloves
- *Masks (Respirator and surgical)
- Bleach Wipes
- Spray Bottles
- Empty hand sanitizer bottles for refilling
“If you have been exposed to COVID-19 please DO NOT donate your supplies. We want to protect all WTCC volunteers who are collecting supplies so we will use precautions. Please maintain 6 feet distance between people as you approach our donation table.”
“For further information about supply drives, please contact WTCC via the Contact form at https://wytechcc.com/contact/,” the WTCC says.
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What to do if you are feeling sick: In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department says that people who are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms should contact their primary physician.
If you do not have a primary care provider, and live in Natrona County, please contact the COVID-19 hotline, operated by the Casper-Natrona County Department of Health. The line is open Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm 577-9892. Hotline services are intended for Natrona County residents and may not be able to provide specific information to persons calling from out of county.
Officials ask that you please do not self-report to the Emergency Room. Persons experiencing problems breathing should call 9-11.
For general inquiries and non-symptom related questions about COVID-19, please contact the Casper-Natrona County Health Department via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice Social Distancing by putting distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home if you’re sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
A list of area closures attributed to COVID-19 are available here.