Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, medical professionals are at an especially high risk of exposing themselves to the virus. Doctors and nurses are reporting a shortage of N95 and surgical masks, as well as other personal protective equipment (PPE) like gowns, gloves and safety goggles.
Just last week, nurses at Kaiser Permanente on Geary Boulevard protested, saying they haven't been sufficiently protected while treating patients.
"We are pursuing additional avenues to bolster and conserve our supplies, so we can meet critical community need while maintaining patient and frontline staff safety," Rishi Sikka of Sutter Health said in a statement.
While Bay Area hospitals are now taking donations in-house, medical students and local businesses have also stepped up and are collecting PPE. If you're looking for a closer place to drop items or would prefer to skip the hospital environment, here's where to go.
Devil's Teeth Baking Company (3876 Noriega St. & 3619 Balboa St.)
In addition to being open for take-out and delivery, the original Outer Sunset and new Outer Richmond locations of Devil's Teeth Baking Co. are asking neighbors to drop by any extra masks they collected during the wildfires.
And there's an incentive: "Bring in what you can and your breakfast is on us!" they wrote on Instagram.
Owner Hilary Passman confirmed that both locations are accepting masks, and that they'll be donated to UCSF.
Gus's Community Market – Haight (1530 Haight St.)
Until the end of this week, neighbors can also drop off supplies at the Haight Street outpost of Gus's Community Market while they're grocery shopping.
A white bin near the registers is being used to collect N95 masks, medical-grade cleaning wipes, disposable face masks, isolation gowns, medical gloves and non-vented safety goggles. All of it will be donated to UCSF.
Organizers are asking customers to use hand sanitizer or gloves before handling supplies and when dropping them off. Previously opened items should be placed in a sealed bag or taped closed.
For those who'd prefer not to go inside the store, a separate bin is located close to the exit door. More info is available here.
Oakland Public Library - Main Library (125 14th St.)
Though Oakland's libraries are closed, the Main Library is repurposing its book return bins for face mask drop-offs. Only new, unused face masks that are in a sealed package should be donated.
Those with quantities too large to deposit in the book return bin can email email@example.com to schedule a drop-off.
Drop off at Lake Merritt (Grand and Harrison)
Mask drive happening today at Lake merritt (corner of Grand and Harrison) between 10 and 3. Please spread the word and bring by your masks/gloves/gown! #UCSFMaskDrive #GetMePPE pic.twitter.com/hA2htYuNZF— Anthony Nardone (@AntNardone10) March 25, 2020
UCSF medical students will also accept donations of masks, gloves and gowns at Lake Merritt (Grand and Harrison streets) tomorrow, March 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
An earlier collection effort near Dolores Park in San Francisco netted nearly 15,000 masks in three days, UCSF medical student India Perez-Urbano said on Twitter.
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