Media availability on Thursday, April 16:
Members of the press are invited to join as volunteer pilots take off with WSHA’s masks from Renton Municipal Airport. Flights will depart at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Renton Municipal Airport
616 Perimeter Rd W
Renton, WA 98057
WSHA will also be on hand taking video that will be available to the media upon request.
The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) will begin sending shipments of disposable surgical masks on Thursday, April 16, to Washington state hospitals. It marks the first time the association has taken the unprecedented step of importing and distributing medical supplies to ensure hospitals have the required equipment to keep staff and patients safe. Some of WSHA’s masks have already been distributed to local long-term care facilities and organizations serving individuals experiencing homelessness.
WSHA purchased 300,000 disposable surgical masks from Dingyi North America and is selling the masks to facilities at-cost. The association is working with the Washington State Rural Health Collaborative to distribute the masks. Both organizations are donating the costs of logistics and transportation, and volunteer pilots from the Boeing Employees’ Flying Association (BEFA) will deliver several shipments of masks via aircraft, meeting with hospital officials at local airports across the state.
The masks will be distributed to facilities most in need of the personal protective equipment:
- Snoqualmie Valley Hospital
- Ferry County Memorial Hospital (delivery via BEFA)
- Samaritan Healthcare
- Prosser Memorial Health
- Astria Sunnyside Hospital
- Othello Community Hospital
- Mid-Valley Hospital (delivery via BEFA)
- Forks Community Hospital (delivery via BEFA)
- Olympic Medical Center (delivery via BEFA)
The masks initially arrived in Washington from China on Friday, April 10, and have been stored at Kaiser Permanente’s Renton, Wash., warehouse while the deliveries were coordinated.
“WSHA has never imported or distributed supplies to its members or other organizations, and we had no idea how to do it, but we made it happen nonetheless,” WSHA President & CEO Cassie Sauer said. “This is just the first round of deliveries, and we plan to distribute the next round to more facilities as soon as possible. Our hospitals and other care providers are desperate for supplies to keep staff and patients safe – our actions were fueled by this desperation.”
Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) has been one of the most challenging issues for the health care community nationwide, and keeping health care teams safe is WSHA’s top priority. The association ordered hundreds of thousands of additional masks from Dingyi North America and Bartell Drugs that will arrive in the next two weeks. WSHA will sell and deliver these as well to facilities across the state.
B-roll video is available upon request of the masks being prepared for delivery from the Kaiser Permanente warehouse in Renton, Wash. Please contact Beth Zborowski or Tim Pfarr.