Before March, few people outside the health and safety fields had heard of PPE (personal protective equipment) or realized how important – and difficult to obtain – it would become as COVID-19 spread across the country.
Clemson University’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center team (EOC) knew obtaining PPE would be critical to protect the University’s health care workers, first-responders and others who are at risk of exposure while doing their jobs.
With hospitals, states and the federal government competing for the same supplies, the University looked inward.
The call went out to Clemson researchers and lab managers across the state with access to PPE to share what they could.
“We didn’t know how much was out there,” said Tracy Arwood, chief ethics and compliance officer.
Researchers from campus labs and those in Greenville and Anderson County, the Research and Education Centers, the Clemson Genetics Center in Greenwood and others sent N-95 masks, face shields, surgical masks, Tyvek suits and gloves, Arwood said.
One lab even shared a difficult-to-find infrared thermometer, allowing nurses at the Joseph F. Sullivan Center to check patients’ temperatures from a much safer distance.
The safety supplies are being used by essential teams at the Sullivan Center and Redfern; police, firefighters and EMS crews; custodians; and even CCIT technicians who may have to work closely with essential contractors.
“We are fortunate that people were extremely generous, and we remain focused on taking care of our personnel who are taking care of us,” Arwood said.
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