HSC Fort Worth donates 5,000 surgical masks for first responders

By Diane Smith

Alfredo García Saz

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is giving the Fort Worth Fire Department 5,000 surgical masks and calling on health organizations across the region to make similar donations to first responders in need.

“This donation continues to demonstrate the relationship between the Fort Worth Fire Department and The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth,” said Jim Davis, Fort Worth Fire Chief. “We appreciate the collaboration and the donation of these masks as they will permit us to provide added layers of barriers between patients and first responders, decreasing the risk of transfer.”

Dr. Brian Gladue, vice president of research at the Office of Research Compliance at HSC Fort Worth, said the donation included 5,000 surgical/procedure masks and 50 N-95 masks.

“As a citizen organization of Tarrant County, as well as a university of the State of Texas, it is hugely important for HSC to be a partner and help as much as possible,” Dr. Gladue said. “We live here, we work here … We are members of the city, county and state family.  When it comes to public health and disease management, we are ALL in this together. So, yes, it is hugely important, and we are looking for ways to help as much as we can … and be safe doing so.”

Dr. Gladue said both types of masks are typically used for staff protection while engaged in procedures involving animal research, clinical interactions with patients, or for biomedical laboratory research.

The masks are coming from the Department of Laboratory Animal Medicine directed by Dr. Egeenee Daniels.

The donation comes as the Tarrant County medical community is being urged to help fight COVID-19 by donating personal protective equipment supplies. It also follows stepped-up efforts by city and county leaders to fight COVID-19.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced a stay at home declaration against COVID-19 on March 24. The announcement was made alongside Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and health care leaders who included HSC President Dr. Michael R. Williams.

Dr. Williams said the university is focused on helping first responders and asked the community to remain hopeful.

“When there is uncertainty, there is fear, and when there is fear, there is loss of hope,” Dr. Williams said. “We will come through this.”

As public health experts, health professionals and community leaders work to address emerging cases, HSC Fort Worth is working with the city and county to keep the public updated about safety measures.

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