A warehouse packed with unused personal protective equipment on Chicago’s Southwest Side could possibly help Illinois medical workers protect themselves and their patients as the nation fights the coronavirus.
The supplies include hundreds of boxes of gowns, gloves and other items typically used in the hospital industry. The owners of the warehouse said the supplies were left behind by a previous tenant when they purchased the building several years ago.
Matt Rogatz and Ben Shapiro told NBC 5 they are looking to donate the items.
“We have the product and we’re not using it, so I would love to give it to the needy and to people that really need it,” said Rogatz.
Some of the items appear to be past their expiration dates, but they are in their original packaging.
The Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s West Side said CDC guidelines allow for expired equipment to still be used as long as it has its integrity.
Crystal Carey, who manages the emergency department at The Loretto Hospital, said staff members go through hundreds of gowns within a few days.
“We are graciously accepting donations and really need donations for the hospital so that way we could provide the same care as all the hospitals in the community,” Carey said.
UI Health said it is watching its PPE stock carefully. Dr. Janet Lin said the hospital system can always use more PPE, including gowns, masks, gloves and face shields.
“Donations are important, but they also need to be of a quality that meets current recommended standards to confer the appropriate level of protection,” Lin said. “It does matter if equipment is expired, even if it is still sealed. For example, if elastic has dried out, PPE could malfunction and hence not be usable."
If you are interested in donating personal protective equipment, the State of Illinois has set up a website that could help you learn more.