Lincoln, Neb. —Soon after the University of Nebraska-Lincoln canceled classes and announced a transition to remote learning in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, School of Natural Resources limnologist Jessica Corman considered the supplies in her lab space that would largely go unused the rest of the semester.
There was some overlap in personal protective equipment — including two boxes of size small non-latex gloves and 18 N95 protective masks — that were in short supply and needed by medical professionals.
Rather than drive to a local hospital and drop off her handful of supplies, Corman sent out notice to faculty and staff to see about pooling resources to help with the medical battle with the 2019 novel coronavirus. In true Nebraska fashion, the response was significant.
The final tally — buoyed by donations from Biological Systems Engineering, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Agronomy and Horticulture — filled Corman’s truck. On March 31, she drove the entire donation to Bryan Health, where staff hauled the Husker researchers’ donations in on a set of wheelchairs.
All told, the donations includes 165 boxes of gloves (16,500 total), 250 pairs of shoe covers, 11 neoprene aprons, about four liters of hand sanitizer, two tubes of disinfecting wipes, 250 surgical masks, 42 N95 masks, and nearly 30 Tyvek hazmat suits.
Corman’s parents live in New York state, where more than 80,000 residents have already tested positive for COVID-19, straining medical resources throughout the state and region. An effort to reduce demand, even slightly, for needed products in a Nebraska hospital means that supplies could reach New York hospitals just a little quicker, Corman said.
“That means so much to me,” she said. “I was really impressed at people's generosity, recognizing that we don't need the stuff right now — the hospitals need the stuff right now.”