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Bristol Hospital asking for donations of personal protective equipment, other supplies

By The Bristol Press

March 24, 2020

Bristol Hospital is continuing to prepare for a possible surge of coronavirus patients and is asking for donations of personal protective equipment and other supplies.

“We do have adequate numbers, but we’re always looking for more because you don’t know how long this is going to last,” said Chris Boyle, a spokesperson for the hospital.

Boyle said the hospital has received an outpouring of support from both individuals and businesses donating N95 masks, gowns, gloves, shoe covers, face shields, hand cleaner, disinfectant wipes and other supplies necessary during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We do have supplies for now, but we don’t know how long this will last,” Boyle added. “We’re doing well right now.”

In addition to supplies, financial donations can also be made, as the outbreak has caused Bristol Hospital, like other hospitals all over the country, incur additional expenses.

“We’ve had people who want to do both,” Boyle said. “People have been dropping things off at the front desk. We’ve had a generous outpouring.”

Donations can be coordinated with Julie Belanger at 860-261-6384 or jbelange@bristolhospital.org.

Having extra supplies on hand could help if the area sees a surge in patients who contract the virus and need to be hospitalized. Bristol Hospital has 15 Intensive Care Unit beds and has plans to take other areas of the hospital and temporarily reallocate them for COVID-19 patients if it comes to that.

“If a surge comes, we have a very well thought out surge plan that continues to evolve,” Boyle said.

Without giving specific numbers, Boyle said the hospital had “quite a few” ventilators and was able to get some more.

“We’re still looking to see how many more we can get,” he said.

Through its outdoor testing station, Bristol Hospital on Monday took swabs from another 68 people to test for COVID-19. This brings the total number of individuals tested by the hospital to 479. While “a handful” of tests have come back positive, no Bristol residents had tested positive for the virus as of Monday. The swabs have been sent to the Quest Diagnostics lab in Virginia and have been taking about a week for results.

Bristol Hospital on Friday said one of its employees had tested positive for the virus. The employee, who does not reside in the city, was working earlier in the week when symptoms began showing. The worker has been recovering at home since then.

The test result on Friday caused hospital officials to fast track a plan to have all employees screened before reporting to work, which began on Saturday. Visitors had already been asked to undergo the screening process, which involves a fever check and a screening for shortness of breath, a cough or any exposure to the virus.

“The staff has been very cooperative,” Boyle said.