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Medical students collecting vital safety gear for hospitals

A group of UTMC healthcare students are tracking down local supplies of PPE.

TOLEDO, Ohio — There's a new group working to connect people on the front lines of the coronavirus with the life saving equipment they need. It's called Masks for Docs, and a local chapter just popped up in Toledo.

The project was spearheaded by Gabrielle Hymel and a group of medical students at the University of Toledo Medical Center. 

"Our anatomy lab has surgical gowns and masks and gloves and I reached out to our faculty and they were more than willing to donate and that started a trend of me realizing that you know, there are people that will just have gloves or have surgical masks," Hymel said.

She said she sees the importance of this equipment every day. Her father practices emergency medicine, so she reached out to a group called Masks for Docs which has people doing the same thing all over the country.

They helped her and her classmates get started.

"We developed a contact list so we could find organizations that we could contact that would probably have PPE like schools, tattoo parlors and construction organizations," Hymel said.

In some cases, the businesses have already started doing what they can, including Kodi Klocinski, owner of Toledo Tattoo Company.

"We're not using the supplies, we're suspended indefinitely, there's not time limit, so can't use them, might as well give them to somebody who can use them," Klocinski said.

Even the Toledo Lucas County Public Library is getting involved by donating materials they anticipated having to use before having to close.

Despite just starting Hymel has had a lot of success so far.

"One of my classmates donated disposable surgical gowns which I don't expect any other community members to have, but we've had mostly gloves, lots of gloves, some people have surgical masks they've donated, we've had a total of 14 N-95s donated," Hymel said.

 Hymel has made connections with multiple hospitals in the area and has begun dropping things off.

The students are picking up the donations at people's doorsteps to minimize the number of people dropping by the hospitals. 

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Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context

WTOL 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit /coronavirus-covid-19 for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan specifically, learn more about the symptoms and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 419-248-1100.

Protect yourself from coronavirus

  • Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
  • Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
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  • Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.