Ford-produced face shields arriving for health care workers in Sarasota

Coronavirus

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota Memorial Hospital has announced it has received one of the first shipments of 500 face shields created by Ford to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The face shields fully block the face and eyes from accidental contact with liquids and when paired with N95 respirators can be a more effective way to limit potential exposure to coronavirus than N95 respirators alone.

“With our supplies dwindling and all of the uncertainties ahead, donations like these are priceless. Thank you Ford for making this protective gear. We appreciate all that you are doing to help protect America’s healthcare workforce!” said Sarasota Memorial Health Care System CEO David Verinder.

The arrival of the Ford face shields in Sarasota comes as 8 On Your Side has learned the federal government is diverting some of the state’s orders of supplies to the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in New York City.

“The Florida Division of Emergency Management has placed and received orders of supplies from numerous private entities to respond to COVID-19. At times, these supplies are redirected by the federal government to go to New York City-based on priority needs,” Communications Director Jason Mahon said in an email to 8 On Your Side.

The Sarasota Memorial Hospital Director of Education Lisa Baumgardner said the shipment of the Ford face shields is helping boost morale of the hospital staff headed into the weekend.

“We’re over the moon to have the shipment of the shields that they sent to us,” she said in a FaceTime interview with 8 On Your Side. “We are so grateful to Ford for thinking of us at a time like this.”

As of Friday night, 13 COVID-19 patients remain hospitalized at SMH. So far, the staff has cared for 26 people diagnosed with the potentially deadly infectious disease.

Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally passed away at SMH on Tuesday.

“These are sometimes scary times, but they’re there at the forefront taking great care of our patients,” Baumgardner said.

Baumgardner told 8 On Your Side her hospital is focused on preserving its supply of protective gear. That involved evaluating what they have in stock twice a day.

“It’s heartbreaking to think that there are places in the country where they’re doing it without adequate protective apparel,” Baumgardner said, “and so Ford really is a lifesaver for us.”

She added during the crisis the hospital is trying to be creative, just like the American car company making much-needed medical supplies.  

“Whether they can be reused or not,” Baumgardner said, “we’re thrilled to be able to have a little more protective equipment available to our staff.”

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