Butler Health System is asking for help as the county's number of suspected and confirmed cases of the coronavirus climbs daily.
BHS announced Tuesday, Butler Memorial Hospital is treating 12 patients who are either suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase from only one inpatient on Monday. This number does not include five Butler County residents who are already quarantined at home after their tests came back positive over the weekend, according to Jana Panther, BHS spokeswoman.
Three of the hospitalized patients are being treated in the intensive care unit.
As of Tuesday's noon update on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, neighboring Armstrong County reported its first case of COVID-19, while Mercer County to the north has two confirmed case and Beaver County has three.
“BHS continues to work around the clock to bring COVID-19 testing into its laboratory as soon as it becomes available,” Jana Panther said in a Tuesday news update.
The hospital is also asking the community for donations, both financial and equipment.
“We're creating the Coronavirus Response Fund in which people can go online and make a donation to help BMH with its response to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Kris Bowser, development and events manager for BHS.
Bowser said money donated to the fund will be directed to the greatest need as the fight against the virus creates excess expenses for the system.
“We're in uncertain times, and at BMH, we're here for our community,” Bowser said. “The BHS Foundation is here to help provide support to BHS for any needs they may have.”
The hospital also put out the call to any businesses or organizations who may have personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be used for health care workers. To arrange for delivery, companies are asked to contact email@example.com.
Bill Jones, president of Penn United, said his staff has been in contact with BHS.
Jones said that while protective gear has also been an issue for the Jefferson Township-based manufacturer, he recognized the importance of sharing what they can.
“We will do whatever we can,” Jones said. “Without our health system, we have nothing left. We have to look around and see what we have.”
Jones knows the company will not have masks for the hospital, but said they were also asked about gloves and some other items.
“We just need to keep praying for our country,” he said. “We'll get through this together.”
Some companies that are donating across the country include construction, manufacturing, auto shops, nail salons and hardware stores.
Rameen Mamoozadeh, president of Slippery Rock Hardware, said if he had the supplies, he would donate them, but his businesses have experienced many of the shortages affecting the entire country, especially in masks.
He said he has seen reduced stock over the last two weeks.
“It started with everybody panicking, but all your major hospitals are low on supplies,” Mamoozadeh said. “I think they're getting what is available.”
The Community Development Corporation of Butler County reached out to the community with a list of items needed by area health care systems. The list includes personal protection equipment, such as surgical masks, respirator masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, head covers and sanitizer.
The list also includes lab supplies and diagnostic instruments and supplies.