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Hospital employee makes, donates hoods to Mercy Medical Center

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During this time of crisis, people are coming together to help others in various ways, and are geting creative in their efforts. This week, an employee of Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre found a way to help keep medical professionals safe amid the shortage of supplies.

Colleen Vandermark, assistant director of radiology and imaging at Mercy Medical Center, part of Catholic Health Services, has been a firsthand witness of the effect the nationwide shortage of supplies caused by COVID-19 has had on the medical community. To alleviate the shortage, Vandermark, along with her sons and their friends, decided to help.

After doing some research, the team discovered that they could make hoods out of Tyvek material, which are reusable and safe. According to hospital infection prevention control experts, these hoods could help with conserving other supplies, as doctors and nurses would not have to wear face shields or eyewear when wearing them. The Tyvek hoods are especially useful because they allow health care workers to preserve the integrity of the N95 mask longer since the hoods offer full coverage.

As of this week, Vandermark and her team have constructed more than 100 Tyvek hoods, which have been distributed to the medical staff at Mercy Medical Center. They are made out of Tyvek, duct tape and page protectors.

“During this national shortage, it truly takes a village,” said CHS’s President of Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital Peter Scaminaci. “I’m so thankful to Colleen, her sons and their friends for going above and beyond to help keep us all safe. We are blessed to have such caring employees and members of our community.”

Tyvek offers superior protection against a variety of hazards, including liquid, oils, chemicals, airborne elements and even tiny dust particles and fibers. The material is made from high density polythene fibers that offer high levels of resistance to wear and tear. It allows for moisture to get out but not in, preventing any droplets from getting through the hoods.

"As a health care worker, I wanted to do more during these trying times,” Vandermark said. “My boys and their friends wanted to help lessen the stress in the communities we live and work in. That’s when we came together to create these hoods. We are so happy they have been well received."

Vandermark and her sons, Kevin and Brian Vandermark, as well as their friends, Thomas Ammirati, Michael Fritz and Thomas Kelly, said they plan to continue to construct these hoods and will be donating them to CHS hospitals throughout Long Island.