With Generous Community Donations, City of Seattle Supplying Urgently Needed Personal Protective Equipment to Community Partners Supporting COVID-19 Related Efforts

Encourages Continued Donations to Allow More Supplies to Our First Responders and Frontline Workers

Seattle (April 9, 2020) – Following the announcement that the City of Seattle would lead a coordinated effort to collect personal protective equipment for frontline workers, today Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced plans to distribute 60,000 masks, eyewear, and gloves to community partners working on the frontline the public health crisis providing COVID-19 testing to at-risk populations, working at long-term care facilities, and at shelters for the individuals experiencing homelessness.  

“Nationwide, there is a huge need for gowns, gloves and masks. Our Seattle community has come together like never before to provide urgently needed, life-saving protective gear to our heroes on the frontlines. These workers are helping to sustain our most vulnerable residents during this unprecedented public health emergency,” sand Mayor Durkan. “We owe each of them a huge debt of gratitude as they continue to push back against the spread of COVID-19 in Seattle’s communities that have the greatest need. Our community is providing equipment that can literally save lives to these frontline workers who place themselves at risk every day to protect our City.” 

PPE inventory has been in critically short supply for frontline employees throughout the region. Public Health – Seattle & King County has partnered with the Washington State Department of Health and State Office of Emergency Management to ensure the distribution PPE based on three priorities: hospitals with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases; first responders; and  long-term care and nursing facilities – the latter of which receives a small percent of the allotment. You can view the state data on PPE.  

Since the March 20, the City has received more than  items from more than 100 individuals and community groups including: 

  • 49,700 masks; 
  • 14,500 Eyewear and face shields; and 
  • 58,100 Gloves. 

This effort is mutually supported by direct donations to Seattle’s first responders. Since March 27, more than 15,000 masks have been delivered to the police and fire personnel, with nearly 200,000 additional items in the pipeline. Seattle Fire and Seattle Police currently have sufficient PPE supplies.  

Understanding the State Office of Emergency Management and Washington Department of Health have worked to procure millions of supplies for hospitals and first responders, the City PPE Donation program fills gaps in PPE supply ensuring facilities in Seattle can continue operating safely until their next delivery of PPE. This program is only possible through a strong partnership with Public Health – Seattle King County to pinpoint and fill these unmet needs. 

Individual donations range from a box of masks originally bought for forest fires to donating items from a dentist office to organizations donating thousands of masks from purchases overseas. Community groups have banded together to fundraise and purchase large amounts of masks such as Seattle Rotary, Oak Tin Family Association, Seniors in Action Foundation, Little Masters Club, Seattle Youth Association of Jiangmen, and others. The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 21 played an important role as a connector brokering a donation with the owner of Bidadoo to donate eight pallets of PPE. Other groups such as the King County Clinic at Seattle Center have become donation sites themselves and donated from their stockpile.   

“We are very grateful to the mayor and the City of Seattle for this donation of personal protective equipment,” said Michael Erikson, Neighborcare Health CEO. “With this welcome boost to our supplies, we can continue to protect the safety of our patients and staff while providing much-needed care to the most vulnerable members of our community who already suffer from a number of health disparities. We will use these vital supplies to provide COVID-19 testing and evaluation in outside tents and critical emergency dental care.” 

“DESC serves a large number of highly vulnerable people, many of whom need up-close and even hands-on help from DESC staff.  Proper PPE has been in short supply, and our many efforts to acquire more have taken us down roads that proved to be dead ends.  DESC staff have been rising to the occasion to continue coming to work to serve some of the community’s most vulnerable and marginalized members, and they need appropriate protection both for themselves and to avoid greater virus transmission in the community,” said Dan Malone, Executive Director of the Downtown Emergency Services Center. 

“Columbia Lutheran Home couldn’t have imagined spending our Centennial year at the front lines of a pandemic. In 1986, Columbia was the first long-term care facility in the nation to take in AIDS patients, and we wrote the HIV/AIDS infectious disease policy for the nation,” said Ellie Brown, Columbia Lutheran Home  Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “Today, April 9th, 2020 marks Day 40 on the COVID-19 front lines. We are successfully fighting this never-before virus with the same determination, strong emergency response, and courage. Proper precautions to reduce the spread of the virus is imperative for our staff. Thank you to Mayor Jenny Durkan and her team for the much needed masks, goggles and face shields.” 

Recognizing the deep gap in resources for organizations that serve the City’s most vulnerable communities, the City in partnership with PHSKC, determined that distributing items to the trusted community health partners that provide testing, organizations that shelter the City’s homeless, and long-term care providers would have the most substantial impact. The first delivery of items will be on Friday, April 10, to 16 organizations with deep roots within the Seattle community, serving at-risk communities with the greatest need. The next delivery will be made Friday, April 24, to locations based on need. 

For residents who would like to donate unopened, unused PPE items please complete the following survey form. City employees will follow up with donors to determine the best route for drop-off or pick-up of donations. The City is partnering with Goodwill Industries in King County to pick up donations. All supplies collected are relocated to a centralized facility.. For residents who have opened, but unused PPE items, the City is partnering with the Seattle Mask Brigade to pick up these items.  For additional questions about the City’s effort, contact  PPEdonations@seattle.gov.