MSU, Wayne State medical students deliver masks, face shields to Detroit nursing homes

Posted at 12:25 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 11:21:47-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — As Michigan continues to battle COVID-19, there is still a need for protective gear. We've seen examples all over metro Detroit of people stepping up to fill in the gaps, including medical students eager to help those on the front lines of this pandemic.

"DET Needs PPE" was founded by a group of MSU and Wayne State medical students. The group collects donated PPE from around Michigan and delivers it to facilities in need. Last week, they delivered 2,500 face shields to Ascension St. John Hospital.

Wednesday they made a smaller delivery, 100 face shields and 75 masks to Hamilton Nursing Home in Detroit.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are some of the hardest hit places by this virus; Mayor Duggan said last week around a quarter of the city's nursing home residents have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Earlier this month, the city rolled out a plan working alongside Wayne State's medical students to make sure every resident and staff member within the 26 nursing homes in Detroit was tested.

"We’ll see what the final death statistics are, but they’re going to be terrible," Mayor Duggan said April 23. "1 out of 10 or 1 out of 12 of the nursing home residents in this city I suspect when the numbers are done, will have died of COVID-19."

"As first years and second years and even third and fourth years who have been pulled from the hospitals during this time, we wanted a way to give back to the medical community," said DET Needs PPE co-founder Courtney Merlo.

Jennifer Lerose, another co-founder, said nursing homes are reaching out the most to the group, in need of help.

“I probably get five text messages on my personal phone in addition to four or five emails every single day.”

You're now able to track reported COVID-19 cases in nursing homes by county and facility on Michigan's Department of Health Human Services website for coronavirus.

"We’re partnered with Angels Wear Gowns that provide the gowns. We have a company in Ann Arbor, Azoth, which provides a loading dock and manufacturing-like facilities to break down these pallets for face shields coming from Boston Scientific," Lerose told Action News.

DET Needs PPE also works with a group called Masks for Docs, a national non-profit working to aid medical workers and support those who are supporting them.

"Our efforts in Michigan have been focused on connecting resources and supplies to grass roots efforts already championing the cause in defense of our communities," said Michigan chapter lead, Brian Pendleton.

The group has now delivered 30,000 PPE items. All donated items needs to be new, however they are also accepting donations of homemade cloth masks.

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