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Community COVID-19

CU Anschutz Collects Truckloads of Supplies for Front Lines of Pandemic

Environmental Health and Safety team leads effort to collect critical supplies

Author Staff | Publish Date March 27, 2020

Amid a growing crisis-level shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus stepped up to collect critical supplies for the healthcare professionals on the front lines of the pandemic.

All this week, the campus, led by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, held a donation drive to collect healthcare supplies from idled labs and education facilities at CU Anschutz and the CU Denver campus.

The drive was a huge success. At last check, the team had collected over 36,600 masks, 47,500 disposable lab gowns, 245,000 pairs of gloves, and 50 cases of disinfectant wipes.

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Ethan Carter, the department’s director, told Colorado Public Radio how the effort helped fill vital gaps for our clinical partners. “Much of the PPE that is used in the clinical environment is also used in the research environment,” he said. “Researchers regularly use gloves, masks, gowns, face shields – all these types of things to protect themselves from hazards in the research labs.”

Beyond PPE, Carter said, the team is collecting testing kits and chemical reagents from labs in preparation for setting up a COVID-19 testing site. “We anticipate there will be a demand to increase the throughput of testing going on in Colorado and nationwide,” he told CPR.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in Colorado, medical providers are looking for more PPE to keep them safe while treating patients. The medical supplies became available after Gov. Jared Polis mandated all elective and non-emergency medical procedures, including dental work, be postponed until after April 14.

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A hallway in the School of Dental Medicine is filled with boxes of PPE

contributions for the supply drive.

The CU School of Dental Medicine (SODM) offered seven pallets filled with PPE. In total, SODM facilities employees delivered more than:

  • 50 cases of disinfectant wipes;
  • 130,000 pairs of gloves;
  • 45,000 gowns; and
  • 35,000 masks.

The donation also included hand sanitizer and cotton-tip applicators.

“We knew we had medical supplies coming to our school and clinic, and we felt, as medical providers, this donation was critical,” said Lonnie Johnson, DDS, PhD, senior associate dean for clinics and practices. “We must help our partners and the community.” 

While the CU Anschutz donation drive ends today (March 27), there are many other donation sites across the metro area, and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus will continue to accept donations. Contact suppliesforCOVID@cuanschutz.edu with questions.

Editor's note: John Brunelli in the CU School of Dental Medicine contributed to this report.