The Denver, Iowa, natives’ mother is a physical therapist and their aunt is a nurse in St. Louis, so they heard firsthand about the shortage hospitals either were already facing or were planning for as the number of critically ill patients increased.
“Hearing these stories got me thinking about how PPE (personal protective equipment) was worn within our labs, and now that students are no longer in face-to-face classes, the PPE could be given to others who need it more than Wartburg does at this time,” said Gabby Corday, who is now living at home while finishing her courses online.
Christine DeVries, associate professor of chemistry, approached her colleagues with the idea, who then took their plans to the dean of faculty. Once getting the go-ahead, the team gathered their unused personal protective equipment and when the Waverly Chamber of Commerce posted a list of needs for the Waverly Health Center, DeVries and Eric Berns, the biology lab coordinator, sprang into action.
Though the hospital has yet to see an influx of patients with COVID-19, alumna Heidi Solheim ’93, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said they greatly appreciate the college’s donation.
“A pandemic such as we are experiencing requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and our community is stepping up to help us meet the health care needs of the community,” she said.
In all, the college donated eight N95 masks, two cases of disposable lab coats, more than 50 boxes of nitrile glove, about 500 disposable sleeves and one full face shield.
“It would not be in keeping with our mission for workers at our local hospital to be at risk if we have the means to help,” said Dan Black, chair of the Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Engineering. “We were happy to be able to donate the items we were no longer using during this school year.”