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U Of U Medical Students Collecting PPE For Health Care Workers

FILE: The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Medical students at the University of Utah are collecting personal protective equipment to donate to health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

PPE items they are looking for include:

  • Masks — N95, surgical or other respirators carpenters or hobbyists may use
  • Face shields
  • Eye protection
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disposable gowns & aprons
  • Disinfecting wipes

“It’s also in a way service to the people who are our mentors and teachers,” said student Claire Bensard. “These are people who are still serving on the front lines and even though we’ve been removed to protect our safety and preserve these critical materials. We wanted to make sure we could serve and give back.”

Items can be opened but have to be unused. They can be dropped off at the following locations:

  • Trolley Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday
  • April 10-12 at West High School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • April 17-19 in Herriman — location TBA
  • April 24-26 at Rio Tinto Stadium from noon to 4 p.m.

Officials with the Utah Department of Health said they are expecting health care workers will need more PPE as a surge of COVID-19 patients is expected in the coming weeks.

That could make it difficult for healthcare workers and the general public to obtain masks.

When the pandemic began, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said face masks would not protect healthy people from the coronavirus. However, the CDC is now advising Americans to wear non-surgical masks where social distancing measures can be hard to maintain, such as at grocery stores or pharmacies.

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