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Covid-19

Global Update: Responding to Surge in U.S. Covid Cases, Supporting Beirut Hospitals, and Preventing a ‘Twindemic’

A weekly round-up of operational activity from Direct Relief.

Shipments bound for health facilities across the United States are prepped for departure on Nov. 16, 2020, from Direct Relief's warehouse. The country is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 cases, and the organization is ramping up shipment capacity to address increased requests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Shipments bound for health facilities across the United States are prepped for departure on Nov. 16, 2020, from Direct Relief's warehouse. The country is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 cases, and the organization is ramping up shipment capacity to address increased requests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

In Summary

• Covid-19 cases are surging across the US, particularly in the Midwest. Direct Relief has responded by delivering more than 500 emergency shipments of PPE, critical care medication, and medical equipment to nearly 400 health facilities across 43 states and territories in the past week.

• Beirut hospitals receive $500,000 in funding, along with more than 875,000 defined daily doses of insulin valued at $5.2 million wholesale.

• Two US health centers fight the “twindemic” with Direct Relief-donated flu vaccines.

• Eritrean refugees threatened by Covid-19 receive care with PPE, thermometers, and other supplies donated by Direct Relief.

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As Covid-19 Cases Surge Across the Midwest, Direct Relief Expands Support

Shipments bound for health facilities across the United States are prepped for departure on Nov. 16, 2020, from Direct Relief's warehouse. The country is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 cases, and the organization is ramping up shipment capacity to address increased requests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
PPE is staged for departure on Nov. 16, 2020, from Direct Relief’s warehouse. The country is experiencing a third wave of Covid-19 cases, and the organization is ramping up shipment capacity to address increased requests. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

The situation: The US is confronting a “third wave” of Covid-19, with heavy case concentrations in the Midwest. With the surge in patients, PPE and other essential supplies are once again in high demand.

The response: Direct Relief sent large shipments of medical aid to Montana, South Dakota, and Idaho, and allocated Covid-19 support kits, containing PPE and other medical supplies, to more than 50 healthcare providers across Midwestern states. Nationwide, Direct Relief sent more than 520 emergency shipments of critical care medicines, PPE, and medical equipment to nearly 400 facilities over the past week.

The impact: Medical staff reported that medical donations from Direct Relief were helping them provide primary, dental, and behavioral health care while keeping their staff members safe. “Our organization has been able to maintain a lower positivity rate than our state,” one health center reported.

Emergency Grants, Insulin Reach Beirut Hospitals Recovering from the Blast

Health workers at Rafik Hariri University Hospital look up from lab work. (Photo courtesy of Rafik Hariri University Hospital)

The situation: Lebanon’s hospitals were already experiencing medication shortages before the Beirut blast. Since the explosion, doctors have worked to provide care in damaged facilities and treat chronic diseases amid acute shortages.

The response: A $500,000 Direct Relief grant is helping repair damaged hospitals and purchase medications. A separate donation of 35,000 vials (875,000 defined daily doses) of insulin worth $5.2 million arrived recently in Beirut.

The impact: The grants will repair laboratories, operating rooms, and other damaged medical facilities, while the insulin donation will reach thousands of people with diabetes throughout the country.

Direct Relief and Clorox Support Health Centers with Flu Vaccines

Flu vaccinations are administered at a flu clinic at QueensCare Health Center on Nov. 9, 2020. Health workers are urging communities to minimize their risk of seasonal flu as the nation sees Covid cases on the rise.(Noah Smith/Direct Relief)
Flu vaccinations are administered at a flu clinic at QueensCare Health Center on Nov. 9, 2020. Health workers are urging communities to minimize their risk of seasonal flu as the nation sees Covid cases on the rise.(Noah Smith/Direct Relief)

The situation: Health experts have repeatedly warned of a “twindemic,” a scenario in which already overburdened health systems deal simultaneously with large caseloads of Covid-19 and seasonal flu. But providers are experiencing shortages of flu vaccines.

The response: Health centers in Los Angeles and Chicago received thousands of flu vaccine doses from Direct Relief. The donation was made possible through a grant from Clorox.

The impact: Both health centers set up flu clinics designed to reach and inoculate hundreds of underserved patients.

PPE and Other Covid-19 Supplies Designated for Eritrean Refugees

Shipments of medical aid are prepped for shipment this summer to countries in the Horn of Africa. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)
Shipments of medical aid are prepped for shipment this summer to countries in the Horn of Africa. More shipments were prepared this week for ongoing support to the region. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

The situation: Hundreds of thousands of Eritreans are displaced and residing in Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, often in crowded refugee camps. Many lack access to clean water and basic health services, while care for chronic disease, stress, and Covid-19 is scarce at best.

The response: Direct Relief is providing 300,000 masks, along with face shields, infrared thermometers, gloves, and soap, to the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa.

The impact: The supplies will help protect both refugees and health workers from Covid-19 in locations where social distancing isn’t possible.

In Brief

The United States

• As Tropical Storm Eta deluged the southeastern US, Direct Relief sent PPE, chronic disease medications, tetanus vaccines, and other medicines and supplies.

• The organization is working to bolster US hospitals, health centers, public health departments, and clinics with PPE, oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and other medical aid as Covid-19 cases spike.

Around the World

• As Hurricane Iota barrels toward Central America, Direct Relief has sent 6 shipments of medical aid to Nicaragua and Honduras.

The Covid-19 Action Fund is allowing community health workers across Africa to carry out their work, including a vaccination effort aimed at protecting 3 million children in the Democratic Republic of Congo from polio.

As the Philippines experiences a series of devastating typhoons – with four more expected before the year’s end – Direct Relief has in-country staff working with local groups to meet needs on the ground. Direct Relief supplies are also being deployed from the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management warehouse in Manila.

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