A drive-through distribution of free medical-grade personal protective equipment was held in the parking lot of the Honda Center on Tuesday, July 28.
Organized by the Orange County Medical Association and Altais, the event was aimed at providing healthcare workers with the necessary equipment to aid in the reopening of their offices while safely abiding by coronavirus restrictions.
Although many medical workers receive free equipment – also known as PPE – from their employers, some physicians who operate smaller offices or private practices have to find their own supplies.
“PPE is in such high demand and we know that there’s a finite quantity, so what we’re trying to do now is get as much as possible to as many people as possible,” California Medical Association spokesman Jacob Greenstein said.
Each package given out contained 350 N95 masks, 2,000 surgical masks, 2,000 pairs of gloves, 100 gowns and 50 face shields, which were bought with state funds. The roughly $5,000 worth of equipment in a box is enough to last for two months if used correctly, according to the association.
Every healthcare worker in the long line of cars at the Honda Cener on Tuesday had to register beforehand and meet certain criteria to receive the equipment. Healthcare providers with 50 or fewer employees are eligible to pick up free supplies from one of many pop-up drive-throughs the medical association is holding.
Greenstein said three dozen more drive-through events will take place in the coming weeks around Southern California.
At each event, a sizable number of volunteers do everything including setting up, directing traffic and loading supplies into each vehicle, making the drive-through a quick and efficient process.
All the volunteers, many of whom are children of physicians, are trained on safety measures and making sure the right people are getting the equipment.
Orange County Medical Association Executive Director Jim Peterson said the volunteers are vital to the success of the drive-through distribution events.
Though CMA and the OCMA have been around for more than 100 years, this is the first time the organizations have done anything like this, but officials hope it can continue as long as there is demand.
Atashi Mandal, who is on the board of the Orange County Medical Association, said she volunteered to help distribute protective equipment because it is critically necessary for the medical community right now.
“Living and working through this pandemic has been probably the most challenging time for me and my colleagues that we’ll ever see,” Mandal said.
Though she receives masks, gloves and other protection at work, she said, there is always demand not just from healthcare workers and patients, but everyone who needs them.
“Each member of the community has a real opportunity here to contribute positively by taking that responsibility for ourselves and protecting each other by wearing their masks and performing proper hand hygiene,” Mandal said.
Source: Orange County Register