BRUNSWICK, Maine — Hospitals across and Maine and the U.S. are seeing supply shortages amid the coronavirus pandemic, so to help Bowdoin College in Brunswick decided to donate equipment from its biology, chemistry, visual arts, theater and dance departments, as well as the Peary-MacMillian Arctic Museum and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
The college is donating 40,000 nitrile gloves, boxes of cotton swabs, splash shields, N95 masks, safety glasses, and shoe covers are being distributed to area hospitals. Cases of toilet paper were also sent to MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program and the Tedford Shelter.
“With Bowdoin’s move to a remote learning model, we found the College had supplies that were not being utilized and that could be put to good use during this extraordinary time,” Doug Cook, Bowdoin College director of college and media relations, said.
On Monday, the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said thousands of essential personal protection (PPE) were being distributed to health care workers across Maine. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah estimated roughly 22,000 pieces would be distributed, including nearly 2,400 N95 masks, 8,000 procedure/surgical masks, 2,000 face shields and 6,000 gloves. Dr. Shah said however those numbers still aren’t sufficient.
Much of the shortage nationwide is due to the fact that the manufacturing of supplies cannot keep up with the growing demand.
Congressional leaders and the White House agreed on a $2 trillion economic rescue package on Wednesday, which will rush aid to Americans, businesses, and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump hasn’t used his authority under the recently invoked Defense Protection Act to compel the private sector to manufacture needed medical supplies like masks and ventilators, even as he encourages them to spur production.
The Maine CDC and Gov. Janet Mills continue to urge the federal government to release additional stockpiles of PPE to Maine.