NEWBURYPORT — Anna Jaques Hospital is seeking donations of personal protection equipment as it faces a worldwide shortage and prolonged demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Williamson, vice president of development for Anna Jaques, said Thursday the hospital, like others around the globe, is experiencing a shortage of supplies as staff members deal with coronavirus patients. She said for months the hospital has been rationing its supplies in preparation for what officials think will be a “protracted period of usage.”

Preferred donations include N95 respirators, surgical and procedural masks, face shield masks, disposable gowns, goggles and eye protection, bleach wipes, nonbleach wipes, nitrile gloves and hand sanitizer.

The hospital is also accepting hand-sewn face masks that will be reserved for its crisis contingency supply, Williamson said. All designs and patterns will be accepted at the Anna Jaques Community Health Foundation Office, 25 Highland Ave., Newburyport, as long as they can be washed and sanitized.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday across the entire Beth Israel Lahey Health network, which includes Anna Jaques, there were 214 patients hospitalized with pending coronavirus tests — 30 of whom were in intense care units — and 93 people with confirmed cases, 26 of whom were in the ICU. The number of confirmed cases rose from the 60 reported by the network 24 hours earlier.

Besides Anna Jaques, the Beth Israel Lahey network includes Addison Gilbert Hospital; BayRidge Hospital; the Beth Israel Deaconess hospitals in Milton, Needham and Plymouth; and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Williamson said Anna Jaques’ 132-bed hospital has for the last several weeks been planning for a “surge of activity” that could still be on its way.

“Given that a huge component of care with patients is personal protection, and because of the outbreak starting last year and a lot of the equipment is produced in China, there were some shortages that rippled worldwide,” she said. “We’re managing a constrained supply through conservation, but we are listening to the projections and want to be ready in the event that this is increased demand and that we’ll be facing these challenges for a prolonged period of time.”

Williamson said Anna Jaques has made internal arrangements and plans for such a situation. The hospital administration and staff have reviewed all practices to keep patients and members of its workforce safe.

The hospital began contacting businesses earlier this month, and is now hoping to include the area’s business community in its call for personal protective equipment.

Williamson said so far, Anna Jaques has received plenty of responses from the community, and emphasized its gratitude.

“The community has been extraordinarily responsive and people are calling every day to ask what they can do to help,” Williamson said. “We feel very supported by the community, and there are many examples of local business owners and visitors that have provided equipment and funds, and we want to express our extreme appreciation for how generous they have been to us.”

All donated items will be inspected to ensure they can safely be used for patient care.

The Anna Jaques Community Health Foundation office will accept donations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations may also be made through Anna Jaques’ Healthcare Heroes Fund: https://secure2.convio.net/ajh/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app271a?idb=2098645966&df_id=1680&mfc_pref=T&1680.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=21393953E40C5AAC3038DA0A699C31D7

Any individuals or businesses with unopened and unused items can email Williamson at mWilliamson@ajh.org with brand and model information and the quantity of the items they can donate. 

For questions or to make arrangements, call 978-463-1176.

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