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How to help Houston-area healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak

Testing struggles in Houston, Harris County
Testing struggles in Houston, Harris County

As cases increase in and around Houston, countless healthcare workers and first responders are working tirelessly on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Here are 7 easy ways you can support them.

Help house healthcare workers and first responders

Healthcare professionals and first responders who live with aging parents or children and spouses suffering from chronic health conditions like cancer and diabetes are among those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic facing a dilemma as they respond to the outbreak: How to minimize their families’ risk of contracting the virus. Now, in a newly launched Facebook group, thousands nationwide are stepping in to address the problem. The group, RVs 4 MDS, which has amassed nearly 16,000 followers since it launched in late March, matches healthcare workers and first responders with vacant RV’s, trailers, campers, apartments and other dwellings where they can isolate during the outbreak. Anyone with such a space can readily post it in the group for a chance to match with healthcare workers and first responders in need.

Donate blood

As workplaces, schools and worship centers shuttered to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, many blood donation drives were also cancelled or postponed. Blood donation is one of the activities deemed essential under Harris County’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order. Find a blood donation location near you using the American Association of Blood Banks locator or the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center locator.

Feed healthcare workers and first responders

Healthcare employees and first responders working long hours may not have the time or energy to prepare food or pick up groceries. Help feed these workers and their families. Order them food and if you’re healthy and able, offer to go on a grocery run for them. Wear a mask, wash your hands often and maintain proper social distancing while out and about and deliver the groceries at their doorstep.

Donate personal protective equipment

As coronavirus cases increase in and around Houston, healthcare workers and first responders could face a shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment. If you have an excess of supplies, consider contacting area healthcare facilities to check in and see what their needs are.

Avoid the compulsion to buy unnecessary supplies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that Americans cover their faces using “simple cloth face coverings” while in public settings like grocery stores where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. The CDC emphasized that the cloth face coverings it recommends are not medical-grade gear like surgical masks and N-95 respirators, which are “are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.” Visit www.cdc.gov for more information on the new recommendations.

Follow the advice of healthcare experts, officials

Listen to and follow the advice of healthcare workers and officials and do your part to flatten the curve. Stay home as often as possible. Avoid close contact with others. Wash your hands frequently. If you’re sick, stay home. Officials say it’s critical everyone does their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure hospitals and healthcare workers aren’t overwhelmed. Visit www.cdc.gov for more information on how to protect yourself and others during the pandemic.

Show your gratitude

Acknowledge the risk first responders and healthcare workers are taking and offer your gratitude. They’re endangering themselves and their loved ones for the greater good of the community. Acknowledge their sacrifices, cheer them on and show your support.

Do you know an individual, nonprofit, charity group or organization supporting Houston-area healthcare workers and first responders during the coronavirus outbreak? Tell us about it in the comments below or email us at click2houston@kprc.com.

More of our coronavirus coverage

FIND ALL OF OUR COVERAGE: See everything you need to know about coronavirus on our special page.

LOCAL CASES: See all the latest local coronavirus updates in our blog

TOTAL CASES: Keep track as new coronavirus cases are reported in counties in the Houston area

MAPPED: See a Johns Hopkins interactive map that shows how coronavirus has spread through the world

MASKS: Here are step-by-step instructions on how to make your own face mask


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