“This is what I signed up for.”
That’s what an employee told Cottage Health President and CEO Ron Werft, which he revealed in a lengthy note to the community on Monday morning.
“It’s what I do,” another employee said.
Mr. Werft spoke to collaborative efforts between Santa Barbara County Public Health, Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and area hospitals — all of which are banding together to not only prioritize those in need of help, but also garner more protective materials for their frontline staff.
Over recent days, the PHD has been outspoken about the strain on resources, making a plea to the public that the county’s healthcare system would need an injection of outside support if they were to have enough gowns, masks and goggles to help medical professionals remain safe while treating COVID-19.
On Monday, they received massive help from the community in the form of two major donations.
Westmont College donated 1,000 N95 masks for “Cottage Health’s front-line heroes combating the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
Westmont explained that they have these masks on campus for students, faculty and staff in case of wildfires.
“With the risk of fire low right now and few students on campus for the spring semester due to the coronavirus, Westmont’s executive team decided to help supply masks for medical personnel.”
In addition, Graham Farrar and his cannabis farm, Glass House Farms, made a donation of 1,000 hospital gowns to Cottage Hospital. Mr. Farrar’s workers utilize the gowns in the cannabis greenhouses in Carpinteria.
In speaking with the News-Press, Mr. Farrar indicated that he was now actively working with community members, as well as his suppliers overseas, to garner more masks.
Mr. Farrar’s cannabis dispensary, the Farmacy, has been a light amid the business darkness, seeing dramatic gains over the past 10 days with the community looking for help medicinally, as well as with anxiety and coping with the unknown.
“Sometimes you need the help, sometimes you get to be the helper,” Mr. Farrar said. “We are happy to help, and it’s just the beginning.”
Mr. Farrar thought it necessary to work with Mr. Werft on making the donation after realizing that if even one healthcare worker gets sick, that means that people in need of help might not have access to it.
“I wouldn’t put myself in the alarmist camp, but if one of our healthcare providers gets sick, that could impact 50 of us,” Mr. Farrar said. “If one of our healthcare workers is exposed and has to go into quarantine, all of us get hurt. These workers are our heroes.”
The hospital currently has 37,400 N95 masks, more than 800,000 gloves and 39 adult and pediatric ventilators (another 21 are on order). Mr. Werft indicated that before coronavirus, the hospital would utilize 25 masks per day, while now using more than 500 per day.
“We expect that rate to significantly increase,” he said.
In Mr. Werft’s community note, he spoke to Cottage Health’s new donation center in the parking lot adjacent to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital at 351 S. Patterson Ave. in Goleta.
Starting today, Cottage will be accepting the following:
- Faces shields – single use or non-disposable
- Eye shields – single use or non-disposable
- Isolation Gowns or Standard level 3 gowns
- N95 Masks
- N99 Masks
- Standard Procedure Masks
Donations can be made from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice.
“On behalf of all the healthcare workers on the frontlines of fighting this virus, I ask for the community’s support. We need you now more than ever to stand with us in safeguarding the health of this community,” Mr. Werft said.