As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, the demand for personal protective equipment for healthcare workers has skyrocketed - leaving some of those on the front lines of the battle without vital items like gowns, gloves, masks and more.
To fight the shortage of equipment known as "PPE," one Chicago-area couple brought community members together over the weekend to donate more than 400 masks.
Joey Sager, a cardiologist, saw the need for N95 masks, writing a note on Saturday that his wife Angela Leontis Sager posted on Facebook to help spread the word.
"From the frontlines I can attest to the dire need for N95 masks in our local community hospitals and for the emergency medical responders bringing patients to the hospital," Sager wrote. "Firefighters are being asked to share masks; doctors are being asked not to see some patients in order to conserve protective gear.
"We are learning quickly that the highest risk place right now is the frontlines. We are safe at home but the hospitals are filling up with patients being evaluated for COVID. I pray that this crisis resolves more quickly than some are saying, but in the interim I ask that you help us at the frontlines," he continued.
Sager wrote that the couple had been brainstorming ways to help as a community, and settled on a mask drive. They asked people to donate unused N95 masks at the Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve parking lot in suburban Barrington on Sunday afternoon, bringing in more than 400 masks.
Leontis Sager posted a photo on Facebook Sunday afternoon showing her husband and brother-in-law with two large bins full of donations, all of which she said will go to at-risk local hospitals and emergency medical services.
"If you have masks to donate, please contact me and we can arrange a safe and socially distant drop-off!" she wrote, thanking all who donated and shared her posts to get the word out. "We will keep collecting as long as these are needed."
Contributing article from our colleagues at NBC Sports Chicago.