Virginia Lewis, mother to eighth-grader Nick and sixth-grader Alex, started a GoFundMe campaign in March (which is now closed) that raised enough money to purchase 2,000 masks for local doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers.
“When the virus first hit the area, not only were the hospitals struggling for masks and protective equipment but so were the local medical practices,” says Lewis. “I literally had to post on my local Mothers Group asking if anybody had N95 masks laying around the house so my husband, David, who is an otolaryngologist in Englewood, could go to work at the office to see some emergency patients. Local neighbors dropped off their N95 masks, and my husband was able to go to work safely.”
Lewis quickly realized that hospitals were overrun with COVID-19 patients and that doctors would have to see non-COVID-19 patients with emergencies at their offices. With the help of a neighbor, who had access to masks for his furniture factory workers, Lewis was able to distribute a few thousand masks to local healthcare workers within the community.
Then, Lewis put in a purchase request for 2,000 KN95 masks, which have the same specifications as the United States Food and Drug Administration’s approved N95 masks, but “cost half the price,” she says. “While hospitals are awaiting their shipments, I knew these masks would be extremely useful for those healthcare workers in hospitals and in the community. Social distancing works, but doctors and nurses must get close to their patients in order to provide proper care. Wearing particulate-filtering masks and other personal protective equipment is essential, both to protect our healthcare workers and to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.”
When the masks arrived, they were distributed throughout the area, including to pediatricians at Tenafly Pediatrics and Washington Avenue Pediatrics, as well as many other doctors, nurses, and medical practices.
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