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Local hospitals receive ventilators purchased with anonymous donation

ThedaCare health care workers pose with ventilators purchased thanks to an anonymous donation...
ThedaCare health care workers pose with ventilators purchased thanks to an anonymous donation (Photo: ThedaCare Family of Foundations).(WBAY)
Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 11:38 AM CDT
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ThedaCare workers showed off five new ventilators purchased thanks to an anonymous donor. A photo was provided to Action 2 News by the ThedaCare Family of Foundations on Thursday.

The number of local patients, hospitalized with the coronavirus, is minimal, most who've tested positive are isolated at home. But, that doesn't mean local hospitals aren't preparing to treat more critical COVID-19 patients.

As schools and businesses across our area were starting to shut down last week because of the coronavirus, hospitals were ramping up, preparing for what could be an influx of critical patients. At the same time, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region received a call, from a donor, who wanted to help those front line health care workers during this pandemic.

"We reached out to both Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation and ThedaCare's Foundation asking them what their most immediate need could be to be able to care for those in our community," says Megan Mulholland with the Community Foundation.

Both health care systems said ventilators were on top of their list.

According to Courtney Weiland with the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, "Being overly prepared would be a great thing for us. Ventilators do get used, coronavirus is only one part of respiratory issues and it's obviously most prevalent to us right now so this is not an unused piece of equipment for us in the future."

So, without hesitation, the anonymous donor provided more than a $170,000 to the two health care systems to purchase ventilators for their facilities.

"It was so inspiring and we moved to action right away and they're on their way here, as we speak. So, it will truly provide lifesaving care," says Chad Hershner with the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation.

Courtney Weiland adds, "A lot of time, in philanthropy, we talk about big gifts saving lives. And a lot of time that's metaphorically and over the spectrum of life, what your needs are and this gift is truly going to save lives."

In addition to saving lives, the ventilator donation is a validation to health care workers on the importance of what they do, and how the community has their backs.

"We have heroes that go to work every day on the front line and when donors step up like this it really makes all of the difference to support our heroes that are here at work every day," adds Hershner.

Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People with those conditions should take the proper precautions.

COVID-19 is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes the virus can make them sick," says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

for more information on symptoms. Emergency signs include pain and pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear between two and 14 days after contact with an infected person.

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for complete local, national and international coverage of the outbreak.

DHS recommends taking these steps to help stop the spread of the virus:

--Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water.

--Covering coughs and sneezes.

--Avoiding touching your face.

--Staying home when sick.

everyone in the United States avoid large events and mass gatherings for at least eight weeks.

The virus originated in Wuhan, China. The spread started in December 2019.