Hospitals and healthcare providers across the United States are facing a shortage in protective medical equipment amid the virus spread

By Claudia Harmata
March 19, 2020 09:19 AM
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The cast of medical drama The Resident is helping save lives in real life after donating their medical supplies from the show to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Fox series, which films in Atlanta, has postponed filming its third season due to the pandemic, and on Wednesday, they donated boxes of personal protective equipment (PPE) that doctors and healthcare workers are in desperate need of amid the virus outbreak.

“‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To the entire team @theresidentonfox, thank you for this incredibly generous donation of #PPE from your set, including gowns, masks, gloves, and all the things our healthcare workers need to provide safe care for our community during #COVID19,” Dr. Karen Law, a rheumatologist at Grady Hospital, shared on Instagram.

“Yesterday, I had a serious discussion with the residents about how, though supplies are low, a magical shipment of masks is unlikely to arrive. And yet, a magical shipment of masks DID arrive, in the form of this very generous gesture,” she added. “This kind of community support means so much to our #frontlineproviders who are making many sacrifices to staff our hospitals and care for our community. Thank you, @theresidentonfox and @foxtv for being helpers. We needed this kind of good news today.”

The Resident
| Credit: Guy D'Alema/FOX

According to Entertainment Weekly, ABC’s The Good Doctor also plans to donate its supplies to a hospital in Vancouver, while Station 19 donated N95 masks to the City of Ontario Fire Department.

Two other ABC dramas, Grey’s Anatomy and its fire station spinoff Station 19, will also be donating medical supplies.

“At Station 19, we were lucky enough to have about 300 of the coveted N95 masks which we donated to our local fire station,” executive producer Krista Vernoff said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE Thursday.

“At Grey’s Anatomy, we have a back stock of gowns and gloves which we are donating as well,” she added. “We are all overwhelmed with gratitude for our healthcare workers during this incredibly difficult time, and in addition to these donations, we are doing our part to help them by staying home.”

On Sunday, Ryan Murphy also revealed that he was donating medical supplies used during the upcoming season of POSE.

“On my FX series POSE, one of our regular sets and locations is a hospital where in season 3 (spoiler) Blanca works as an AIDS/hiv counselor. Today we donated all our prop supplies to Mount Sinai hospital to help nurses and doctors battling the Covid outbreak. Let’s all keep giving when and where and how we can. More to come…”

Hospitals and healthcare providers across the United States are facing a shortage of medical protective equipment while helping to care for thousands of coronavirus patients.

Some doctors are reporting having to reuse their masks — which are only meant for single use — for days at a time. Others have even started to make DIY face shields out of marine-grade vinyl, industrial tape, foam and elastic, CNN reported.

“There are folks who say that every night they take the mask home, they spray both sides with bleach and they hang it up to dry and they hope that’s gonna work,” Laura Wooster, the associate executive director of public affairs at the American College of Emergency Physicians, told The Hill.

“So it’s pretty bad,” she added.

Health and government officials are urging Americans to refrain from purchasing the PPE equipment, like face masks, for personal use as doctors and nurses need the gear to keep them safe while caring for infected patients.

“We have that constant exposure, and we need to be protected,” Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, a nurse at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, told The Hill. “If we get sick, we won’t be able to take care of those who are sick.”

During a press briefing, President Donald Trump said he would invoke the Defense Production Act, a 1950 wartime law, to help make up for the medical supply shortage, CNN reported.

As of Thursday morning, there have been at least 8,317 confirmed cases of coronavirus confirmed and 147 deaths in the U.S., according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.