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Covid-19

Operational Update: Infusions of Respiratory Support, PPE for Hospitals Continue

Prepped for departure from Direct Relief's warehouse, medical aid is staged on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, bound for health facilities across the globe. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)
Prepped for departure from Direct Relief's warehouse, medical aid is staged on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, bound for health facilities across the globe. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

Over the past seven days, Direct Relief has shipped requested medical aid to 41 U.S. states and territories and 16 countries around the world, amounting to more than 10 million Defined Daily Doses of medication.

Operational activity remains high for California, where cases continue to break records week after week. This week, it became the first U.S. state to record a total of 3 million cases since the pandemic began.

Covid cases in the United States are beginning to decline compared to previous weeks, according to a model created by Facebook AI Research, which has been mapped and analyzed by Direct Relief.

“Although the predicted case increase remains extremely high and serious, the forecast relative to the previous model run has decreased dramatically – with just over 4 million new cases forecast nationally by Feb. 9,” said Andrew Schroeder, Direct Relief’s Vice President of Research and Analysis.

“Fundamentally, the geography of this phase of the pandemic has not shifted much, with the most affected areas remaining California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and then up through the rest of the northeast and New England.”

Schroeder said that California alone accounts for 16% of the total national forecast case increase, with all major urban areas in the state predicted to see growth rates of 20% or more over the next three weeks.

The state has been a major operational focus for the organization, and more than $639,000 in medical aid has been shipped to dozens of health care providers across the state over the last seven days.

Respiratory Support, PPE Shipments Continue to Covid-Impacted Hospitals

As many ICUs are taxed to the limit, Direct Relief shipped hundreds of oxygen concentrators to hospitals working quickly to make room for incoming patients. Oxygen concentrators can provide respiratory support to patients being discharged from the hospital, freeing up space for more critical cases. Many hospitals have also requested powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPRs, which can protect providers with an enclosed hood and attached air purifier as they provide patient care over long stretches of time.

This week, a key shipment departed for Ventura County Medical Center. The shipment included 11,000 isolation gowns and 50,000 gloves, as well as other essential medical items. Twenty oxygen concentrators and 20 powered air-purifying respirators were also included in the shipment.

New recipients in the Los Angeles area include Valencia Pulmonary Group, which is working to connect patients discharged from local hospitals with respiratory care at home. They received 24 PAPRs and 25 oxygen concentrators.

The Garfield Medical Center and USC/Keck Medical Center also received PAPRs and oxygen concentrators for respiratory support.

Receiving PPE support this week was CORE, a nonprofit that coordinated mass Covid testing at Dodger stadium and is also supporting a mass vaccination site at the stadium. Gloves and N95 masks were sent to protect those conducting patient outreach.

Medical support also continued to health facilities in Arizona that received oxygen concentrators, including one large hospital system that will be able to continue patient discharges with an infusion of 100 oxygen concentrators that patients can use at home.

Summary of Continued Response

Since December 1, 2020, the organization has made 3,239 shipments totaling 1.2 million lbs. (600 tons) of medical material aid containing 38.6 million Defined Daily Doses and valued at $235.1 million to 1,130 partner organizations in 48 US states/territories and 50 countries.

The material aid shipments, which are provided upon request to health organizations, include both medical supplies and essential medications for patients without the means to pay, as well as more than 18.9 million units of PPE needed for any in-person medical visits and for care of Covid patients.

Direct Relief has also issued $7 million in grants in recent weeks, including $250,000 to the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and $250,000 to the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi to support primary care efforts at the community level.

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