Area hospitals in need of PPE look to university labs and departments for donations.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases anticipated in the coming days and weeks, frontline medical teams and hospitals are working to prepare. However, many area facilities have limited supplies of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to do their jobs and stay safe. This equipment provides a first line of defense for health care workers against the virus, allowing the workers to continue serving patients and the hospitals to maintain staffing levels as the number of cases increase.

“Local hospitals and medical centers currently have an acute need for PPE, including surgical masks, face shields, N95s, sanitizer, gloves, safety gowns, and transport media,” Elazer Edelman wrote in a recent email to the MIT community. As the director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), the Edward J. Poitras Professor in Medical Engineering and Science, and a senior attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Edelman says that medical professionals throughout the region have reached out to him directly with requests for any PPE that can be donated. “These hospitals are desperate for any of these supplies,” he wrote.

To respond to this unprecedented need, a cross-campus team at the Institute is working to solicit and collect any extra, unopened PPE from laboratories at MIT. Specifically, this team is looking for donations of unopened and unused face masks (including N95) including clinical, surgical, or other types; face shields; gloves; powered air-purifying respirators; gowns; cleaning wipes with bleach; hand sanitizers; swabs including Dacron, rayon, or nylon swabs; and culture media.

Currently staffed labs with any of these items in any quantity are encouraged to sort them as best as possible and email donate-ppe@mit.edu to arrange collection. Labs that have received appeals for donations can also forward requests to this email address to coordinate responses.

Labs are not required to donate, and each lab should assess its own needs going forward and retain items needed to safely complete approved laboratory maintenance and COVID-19-related research. Teams at the Institute will be working to ensure donations are distributed to local facilities equitably and according to need. For any additional questions about donations, email donate-ppe@mit.edu.