“The conditions we’re experiencing are wartime conditions. We need to step up the production of PPE [personal protective equipment],” said Mary Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). During a drive to donate such equipment for nurses, the MNA aimed to help make an impact in the hospitals around the state of Minnesota through getting the life-saving materials to the nurses on the front lines.
The MNA has been collecting PPE donations from local business and individuals since March 21. The drop-off site is located at 345 Randolph Avenue in Saint Paul.
“This idea started when one of our nurses on staff within the Health East system was feeling frustrated and wondering how else we could help our nurses on the front line,” said Carrie Mortrud, MNA project specialist. “He talked to other staff and we organized the first PPE drive on Saturday morning. We had a donation of 20,000 masks from Securian the first day, and it’s been steady ever since. Some people drop off one mask, five masks, 10 masks, whatever they can.”
“So far we’ve had upwards of 40,000 donations,” Carrie continued. “We had two really huge donations and an outpouring from everyday people.” The donations are critical, but they won’t last long. “We have 22,000 members. These donations are for everybody that’s working in direct care.”
“To put this in perspective,” added Turner, “the Health East/Fairview uses about 12,000 masks per day.
To donate PPE, the Minnesota Nurses Association is collecting supplies every Monday through Friday until March 29 from noon until 2 pm at 345 Randolph in St. Paul. They will take new unused N95 masks, paper lunch bags, Tyvek/Hazmat suits, safety goggles, latex-free gloves, face shields that cover the entire face, electric respirators, and PAPRs.
To find out more about the MNA PPE drive, visit mnnurses.org.
Chris Juhn is a contributing photographer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.