By Message Staff
NEW ORLEANS, La. (LBM) – Louisiana Baptists have donated 10,000 N95 respirators to help Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, and another 14,000 or so to other medical centers around the state to help fight against the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
John Hebert, Louisiana Baptists missions and ministry team director, told the Baptist Message he was honored to put to use now these disaster relief materials donated to help Louisiana Baptists respond after floods, hurricanes and other natural and manmade disasters. The N95 respirators are used by Louisiana Baptist volunteers to help in high dust operations like removing dried mud in clean up operations and during different phases of reconstruction such as drywall sanding, etc.
The respirators are in short supply among healthcare centers since the COVID-19 pandemic and President Trump issued a personal plea for construction companies and other organizations to donate what they could to hospitals facing shortages while manufacturers sped up the supply lines.
An Ochsner delivery truck picked up the respirators and delivered them to their facilities on Wednesday, March 18.
“We are doing everything we know to do to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to minister to the needs of the sick everywhere,” Hebert said. “We had a stockpile of N95 respirators that we have been drawing down since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“God knew we would need them one day and I’m happy He did preserve them for a time like this,” he continued. “I just pray getting those masks to Ochsner Hospital saves someone’s life.”
Through March 22, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 837 cases of COVID-19 — in 36 of 64 parishes — with 20 deaths.
Meanwhile, nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 10,442 confirmed cases and 150 deaths as of the same date. By comparison, World Health Organization reported 292,142 worldwide confirmed cases and 12,784 deaths.