The ongoing COVID-19 crisis inspired a Chester company to clean out its stock of facial masks and disposable surgical gloves, and donate hundreds of them to local hospital workers.
Chester Building Supplies delivered the masks, largely dust masks and some N95 respirators, along with boxes of gloves directly to South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater. Store manager Steve Foran put the count at over 6,000 pairs of gloves and over 800 face pieces.
Watching news coverage about potential, or actual, personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in other jurisdictions, Foran decided on his own to go into his Highway 3 store one weekend, pull the items out of his inventory, and make some calls.
"Selling to the general public, we knew, was not really going to help," Foran told LighthouseNOW, "but we knew it would help with the medical system because those are the people who know how to use it."
The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) appreciated the gesture.
Western Zone Health Services Director Rob Zwicker said the Bridgewater hospital is thankful for the items. "We are incredibly grateful to have such strong community support," he said in a statement released by the NSHA to LighthouseNOW.
Foran hoped the PPE could be used by nursing homes, continuing care facilities, or the like, if NSHA didn't have an immediate use for it, but he wanted front-line staff dealing directly with COVID-19 to have it in their hands.
Chester Building Supplies posted news of the donation on social media with an image of assistant manager Ashley Bushen all smiles alongside the PPE.
"Research shows selling gloves to the general public creates a false sense of security that could actually increase the chance of infection," the company said in the online message. "You would have to change your gloves properly every time you touched something and would probably need 1,000 pairs a day or more doing everyday tasks."
"Also, if someone wears a mask, they usually touch their face much more to adjust, scratch or take it on and off and again, increasing the chance of infection."
The company ended the post with: "Wash your hands often and well and practice social distancing of two metres or more. Our absolute best defence against this nasty virus."
Since the NSHA donation, the building supplies company stepped up again; this time giving 50 pairs of safety glasses and over 6,000 pairs of surgical gloves to staff at Shoreham Village, a long-term care facility in Chester.
"We're trying to inspire others to be good community citizens, and take care of the people who really need the assistance at this time," Foran explained.