With healthcare professionals across the U.S. experiencing dire shortages of personal protective equipment, nurses in Minnesota have turned to the public for help finding one crucial item.
The N95 respirator mask has been in critically short supply because of the coronavirus, with doctors and nurses being forced to reuse masks or turn to items like bandanas instead.
To help keep their members protected during the pandemic, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) is asking the public to donate the desperately needed respirators.
Starting Saturday, they'll be accepting unused masks outside their St. Paul headquarters every day from noon to 2 p.m. until March 29.
If you have any to donate, all you have to do is drive up, remain in your car, and a staff member will collect them from you, according to a news release.
The office is located at 345 Randolph Avenue, Suite #200.
“Every mask collected means a nurse will be less afraid to go home to their families at night,” MNA President Mary C. Turner said, per the release. “Re-using masks is potentially dangerous for both nurses and patients. And if we can’t keep nurses safe, we won’t have nurses to care for patients.”
Any masks the group collects will be given to the State Emergency Operations Center, which will in turn distribute them to nurses who are running out at their respective hospitals.
The coronavirus has been found to hit healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic especially hard, with CNN noting a number of doctors dying or ending up in critical condition because of COVID-19.
Manufacturers are racing to meet demand, with a Friday report saying that Minnesota's own 3M has doubled global production of the N95 over the past two months.