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Healthcare workers who have received donations include (clockwise from top left): Marisa Marzec, of New Lenox; Jennie Zamzow, of New Lenox; Dr. Roselle Almeida, of Mokena; and Dr. Kelly Bray, of Mokena. Photo submitted
T.J. Kremer III, Editor
9:40 am CDT March 30, 2020

As it started to become clear that health workers were likely to be overwhelmed by a surge of COVID-19 patients, and facing a limited supply of personal protective equipment, Mokena resident Komal Gujarathi knew she had to do something to help.

Gujarathi, who holds a master’s degree in public health and has been working in that field for more than a decade, started a Facebook page to collect the equipment from individuals and local businesses that is so desperately needed on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. She reached out to the Frankfort Fire Protection District and Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox to find out how best to get the donations of personal protective equipment to those in need.

But she did not stop there. On March 20, she and other health care workers sent a letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker imploring him to use the State’s resources to secure more equipment.

“I’ve been very happy with [Pritzker’s] response,” Gujarathi said. “I think everything I’ve reached out to their office for has been addressed. So, I think there is a better system in place now than there was just a week ago. I’m hopeful that our health care workers in Illinois will be OK in the long term, but we just don’t know.”

Needed items include: N95 and surgical procedure masks; Nitrile procedure gloves; hand sanitizer; grocery, gas or restaurant gift cards; bleach wipes; gowns; and Tyvek suits.

Those who would like to donate can call Silver Cross Hospital at (815) 300-7105, or drop off donations at Frankfort Fire Protection District 333 W. Nebraska St. in Frankfort.

To donate to the governor’s office, visit www2.illinois.gov/sites/serve/Disaster/Pages/COVID-19-PPE-Donations.aspx or email ppe.donations@illinois.gov.