WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Helping Out the Health Department

Apr 21, 2020

A spokesperson for the McDonough County Health Department said community members can contribute to the local COVID-19 response in a variety of ways.

Public Information Officer Stefanie Johnson listed three possibilities:

  • Monetary donations. “If they wish to specify that it’s for ppe (personal protective equipment) for first responders, they can do that. We will use it to buy the supplies that are needed,” Johnson said. Checks can be made out to McDonough County Health Department.
  • Donations of personal protective equipment. “N-95 masks, surgical masks, homemade cloth face masks, gloves, booties, goggles, face shields, gowns, disinfectants, and hand sanitizer,” Johnson said. “We don’t know in the future what might happen to the supply chains so we’d like to make sure that we have enough to last us for a little bit.” She said the health department will accept any homemade face masks, but added McDonough District Hospital has selected a preferred style. She said pattern details can be found in the vestibule at the health department as well as on the health department’s website and Facebook page and the hospital’s website.
  • Follow health experts’ guidelines for preventing spread of the novel coronavirus!  “The most important thing people can do is to stay home as much as they are able to, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, (and) maintain social distancing when they do need to go out,” Johnson said. “We also recommend that you follow the CDC’s recommendation of wearing a face mask when you’re out in public where that social distancing might be difficult to obtain like at a pharmacy or grocery store.”  

Johnson said a mask won’t protect you but it can protect others if you have the virus. “I wear a mask to protect you. You wear a mask to protect me. And then we can all benefit from that if everybody is following those guidelines.”

The little free library in front of the McDonough County Health Department building is now a little free food pantry.
Credit Rich Egger

Johnson also said the health department has converted the little free library in front of its building into a little free food pantry. 

“People can come and take or come and leave things as they choose. So whoever needs something, if they’re driving by and there’s something in there they could use, they can come and get it.”

She said the health department is following the lead of the YMCA, which recently converted its little free library to a little free food pantry.

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