Trinity donates personal protective equipment to local medical center


Photo provided by Tess Coody-Anders

This article is a part of the Trinitonian’s coverage of Trinity University’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here to read the rest of our coverage.

The supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) is endangered on a global scale. In Texas, the shortage is no different. However, businesses and institutions are stepping in to help.

This past month, Trinity donated all of the PPE it had to Guadalupe Regional Medical Center in Seguin to help the group supply its primary care providers the necessary equipment.

Les Bleamaster, science facilities manager of CSI and professor of geosciences, said he first realized Trinity could help supply PPE when he was discussing the shortage with his wife, who’s in the medical profession.

“We have some of that material throughout CSI and some of our research spaces,” Bleamaster said. “I went to David [Lopez] and asked if we had anything in excess because we’ve reduced our staffing, we’ve reduced our procedures because of the shutdown.”

David Lopez, a lab supervisor in Trinity’s Animal Care Facilities and for the Department of Biology, worked with Bleamaster to figure out what the university could spare.

According to Lopez, there were several types of equipment that the university could donate, including boxes of paper coveralls in all sizes and surgical-type gowns that aren’t generally used in the lab because they are too cumbersome. Lopez also said they were able to donate multiple types of masks and face shields — which he had received as samples from conferences over the years — and boot covers.

Bleamaster added that some materials also came from the university’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety with the help of its director, Osvaldo Crespo.

“It took a few days for us to just, you know, realize, ‘Hey, we have all this and we have a need,'” Bleamaster said.

Just a few days after Bleamaster reached out to Lopez, vice president for Strategic Communications and Marketing Tess Coody-Anders reached out to Lopez about the PPE. He had already gathered everything Trinity had and said it was ready to go whenever.

Coody-Anders reached out because she had been in contact with an alumna named Deana Henk, who graduated in 1995 and is now the executive director at the Guadalupe Healthcare Network (GHN), which includes two medical centers, one hospital and over 200 physicians in South Central Texas.

According to Henk, though the supply shortage is bad everywhere, it’s especially hard for smaller, more rural hospitals and medical centers, like those within the GHN. GHN is a non-profit, public system, and the donation will help in their emergency rooms, intensive care units, as well as their entire network of doctors.

“The community response to our asking has been really good and a tremendous help,” Henk said. “We’re hoping that will hold us over until the supply chain recovers.”

Henk also hopes that other businesses see organizations and institutions like Trinity donating and will follow suit. Though Trinity’s donation was helpful, the need is much bigger than what Trinity could provide.

“Fortunately, I think that [the donation] will probably last a week. We’re hoping it’ll last a little bit longer, but it may only last three days,” Henk said. “They’re very appreciative of the effort, and I’m very proud to be a Tiger.”