Donations needed to prepare for demand

SHELTON — Shelton’s emergency crews are seeking the public’s help in adding to its supply of protective medical gear.

Echo Hose Ambulance Corp, working alongside city Public Safety Director Michael Maglione, is seeking donations of surgical masks, N95 respirator face masks, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and hand wipes, according to Assistant Chief Joe Laucella.

“We are well stocked with supplies right now, but this is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Echo Hose Ambulance Corp Chief Michael Chaffee. “We want to be extra prepared just in case.”

On March 23, moments after Laucella discussed seeking donations, interim school Superintendent Beth Smith arrived at the facility with a delivery of surgical gowns, masks and gloves and antibacterial soap.

“Everyone in the community has been supportive,” said Laucella, adding that Echo Hose Ambulance has maintained normal crew coverage through the pandemic but is prepared to increase staff as necessary.

The COVID-19 pandemic “is a first for first responders and health care providers, but we are prepared. We have pulled out all the stops to make sure that everyone in the community is healthy and safe,” added Laucella.

Laucella said anyone with extra supplies can email and crews can be sent to homes for outside pickup.

Griffin Hospital, with the new drive-up collection site and uptick in patients, remains fully stocked with protective medical gear, at least to this point, officials said.

“Griffin currently has a good supply of personal protective equipment,” said Griffin Health Chief Medical Officer and Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Frederick Browne. “However, we are concerned that our stock could become insufficient if the number of COVID-19 patients we are caring for increases.”

Griffin Health last week was approved by the state Department of Public Health to provide a drive-up collection facility for COVID-19 testing on the Griffin Hospital campus, 130 Division St., Derby.

Since opening the drive-thru collection site March 20, Griffin Hospital is averaging more than 30 coronavirus tests day.

Griffin Hospital is accepting donations of N95 respirator face masks, medical grade isolation masks and gowns; face shields; and medical grade non-latex gloves. At this point, the hospital is not accepting hand sewn masks.

Small quantity donations may be brought to the main lobby of the hospital between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. For large quantity donations or for more information, contact or 203-732-7539. Hospital officials will review all donations to ensure items meet hospital grade standards.

At this point, the hospital is not accepting hand sewn masks.

In order to initiate the testing process at the new collection facility, a person with COVID-19 symptoms will need to have a valid order for the test from a licensed independent healthcare practitioner. Patients with a valid order can schedule an appointment at 203-437-6815.

The Griffin Health COVID-19 drive-up test collection site is in the hospital’s upper parking lot near the Community Garden. The collection site will operate seven days a week seven days a week: from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The site includes a covered testing area and tents for registration and specimen collection.

Patients should arrive at the test site at their scheduled time where their order and pre-registration will be confirmed. Patients will go to the covered testing area and a trained Griffin caregiver will collect a sample using a nasal swab.