The City of Houston is asking members of its community to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be used by medical personnel, first responders and others in the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cheniere Energy, the Astros Foundation and Project C.U.R.E, a nonprofit that distributes medical supplies, are partnering for a citywide donation drive scheduled for noon-3 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, at Minute Maid Park. Individuals and businesses are asked to bring complete, sealed boxes of items such as masks, gloves, gowns and coveralls, goggles, face shields, shoe covers and hand sanitizer that can be used at the city’s two COVID-19 testing sites as well as by police officers, firefighters, other municipal employees and those helping the homeless.
The donation event will be a touch-free, drive-through operation in which volunteers will unload boxes from vehicles along Crawford Street between Congress and Texas streets.
“We’re looking at individuals, paint shops, production facilities, any of those businesses need to think, ‘What do we have that can be used?'” Janet Thomason, Project C.U.R.E’s director of national procurement, said during a Friday afternoon news conference at City Hall. “We’re looking for anything that can protect these first responders.”
Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Houston area’s hospitals are within their bed capacity to treat COVID-19 cases — “as of today” — and that there are stocks of all the aforementioned supplies. He said there are about 200,000 N95 masks, about 2 million pairs of gloves, about 40,000 gowns, between 3,000-4,000 goggles and about 700 face shields.
Turner also said those items are being used at a “very, very high” rate as the number cases of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, continues to climb. The city reported 81 new cases Friday, bringing its total within the city limits to 587, as well as its seventh and eighth coronavirus-related deaths.
Harris County has reported an additional 519 cases and five deaths, including 70 new cases and one new death on Friday.
Turner said the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Department are now “assuming that everyone we come in contact with, pretty much, has COVID-19.”
“We anticipate we’ll be in this battle for the next couple months, let’s put it that way,” Turner said. “You don’t want to get down within about a week or two (worth of PPEs).”
Jack Fusco, the president and CEO of Houston-based Cheniere Energy, said cash donations will be accepted along with supplies. He said the company will match up to $50,000 in monetary donations.
Thomason said donations also will be accepted at Project C.U.R.E.’s Houston location at 8303 Kempwood Dr.
For more information, visit projectcure.org/houston-ppe-drive.