Central Texas schools and universities donate supplies to help fight COVID-19 pandemic

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Hospital systems are becoming increasingly strained under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help, multiple school districts and universities are donating supplies to medical centers in the fight against the spreading coronavirus.

On Thursday, Georgetown, Hutto and Round Rock Independent School Districts donated various personal protective gear to first responders.

The districts collected masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection to help healthcare providers defend themselves while working against the spreading COVID-19.

“So one of the biggest things that our responders are dealing with, in addition to the normal stresses of the life is the stresses of bringing this disease home to their families,” said Edward Tydings with Williamson County EMS.

“So the more personal protective equipment that they have, the greater that we can reduce that stress onto people to make sure that they’re not bringing that home to their families.”

Tydings also said that one of the causes of the shortage was the public buying all the protective supplies from stores leaving very little for medical professionals.

On Friday, Eanes Independent School District donated 70 of its older iPad 4s to Dell Seton Medical Center. The district received a request from Dell Seton that same morning, and it was able to quickly prepare, charge and deliver the devices by Friday afternoon.

“Putting these older iPads to where they can be of immediate value to local healthcare workers on the front line is the least we can do,” said Eanes ISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard. “This was a quick effort to help the broader community and we were happy to help.”

Also on Friday, Texas State University donated ventilators to local hospitals to help them treat patients with COVID-19.

The Department of Respiratory Care, part of the College of Health Professions at Texas State’s Round Rock uses ventilators to train respiratory therapists. The department decided to donate the machines after the university moved classes online.

“I talked to the faculty, and we decided if there was a need we could help with, we were open to that. The ventilators are a loan, but we won’t need them for the students until well into the summer session,” explained Gregg Marshall, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care. “Professor Nick Henry is working on getting them ready. We’re emptying everything out of the lab, trying to get the ventilators out there where they can make a difference.”

Ventilators are a key piece of equipment in the fight against the coronavirus and they are in short supply. They are used to help patients suffering respiratory complications breathe. According to a press release from TXSU a single ventilator can typically cost $30,000 to $40,000.

So far, the university has donated four ventilators to Ascension Seton Williamson in Round Rock and two to Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin. The university is talking with St. David’s HealthCare about getting them some units as well.

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