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KATE POCOCK, Whiteriver, Arizona

I am an emergency medicine physician assistant on the Navajo and Apache Reservations in Arizona. I am a graduate of San Clemente High School (2004), and I return home to San Clemente, where I keep a residence in between shifts. (Arizona has a shocking lack of waves.)

As many of you are well aware, one of the biggest issues facing health care workers on the front lines during this COVID-19 pandemic is lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). 

This includes face masks, N95 respirators, surgical gowns, gloves, face shields, and protective goggles, among other things. This is leading to dangerous exposures of health care workers to active COVID-19 patients, resulting in infections of the people who need to be caring for these critically ill patients. 

This vital equipment protects our health and well-being (and that of our families) so that we can continue to care for the influx of patients that we are seeing (and even more we will see in the coming weeks and months).

Many people around the country are getting creative; there are crowdsourcing websites, 3D printers being put to use to make supplies, and donations being made. I want to encourage everyone right now that you can be proactive in this fight. 

Please, if you personally have supplies, donate them to your desired hospital. If you know of a dentist, tattoo artist, or any other profession that might be closed and have supplies, please reach out to them, asking them to donate their supplies.

If you are in the private sector and have access to production lines, please consider altering your production to PPE for a bit. If you are politically inclined, please reach out to your favorite politician and give them reminders that this is critical to our fight against this pandemic. 

And if you have any other creative ideas, please, share them with us. The amount of innovation from the medical, scientific, and engineering communities right now is incredible. Please, don’t feel like you are helpless or not relevant to this fight—we need all of the support we can get.

If none of this is within your ability, please send prayers if you are a person of faith, send love if you are a person of heart, wash your hands, socially distance, and stay home.

And please hug your family (if it is safe to do so)—my colleagues and I are counting down the days to when we can safely hug ours.

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