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'Anything we can do to help': Decatur schools donate iPads, supplies to HSHS St. Mary's amid coronavirus threat
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'Anything we can do to help': Decatur schools donate iPads, supplies to HSHS St. Mary's amid coronavirus threat

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DECATUR — HSHS St. Mary's Hospital will use iPads as a tool to help maintain social distancing while still caring for patients in isolation. 

Decatur Public Schools on Wednesday donated over 120 iPads to the hospital to help them with the shortage of personal protective equipment, or PPE, happening across the nation due to the coronavirus outbreak. A similar donation to Decatur Memorial Hospital is pending. 

Mark Krieger, St. Mary's information technology services manager, said the donation would help the hospital save on PPE and it would also allow patients to communicate with loved ones during their stay. 

"This is huge for St. Mary's as we are looking to explore ways to protect our patients, coworkers and colleagues," Krieger said. "We will be using these devices for those patients that are in isolation so that we can have constant communication with them."

The district was preparing to sell roughly 250 iPads but officials said this would be a better use for the technology. Jennifer Tuggle, a senior IT analyst for the district, said the district offered half of the iPads to St. Mary's and the other half to Decatur Memorial Hospital. Tuggle said they are still working out donation arrangements with DMH staff. 

"Jennifer saw that some people were not able to communicate with their families and saw that some medical professionals were struggling with the PPE shortage, and the iPads help bridge the gap," said Maurice Payne, information technology director for Decatur Public Schools. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker during a press conference Monday said the state has asked the federal government for crucial supplies, which included masks, gowns, gloves and other equipment. Pritzker urged anyone who can donate equipment, such as tattoo parlors, to do so. A drive to collect PPE donations, including handmade makes, is being held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursdays, March 26, April 2 and April 9, at the Decatur Civic Center. 

LISTEN: Herald & Review daily coronavirus update for Wednesday

Superintendent Paul Fregeau said district staff collected additional supplies from Eisenhower High School's science lab. 

"We have gloves, gowns and glasses that we are offering to the hospital as well," Fregeau said. "Anything we can do to help, we want to do it." Fregeau added that staff would also collect supplies from MacArthur High School for future donations. 


WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Coronavirus in Central Illinois

Contact Analisa Trofimuk at (217) 421-7985. Follow her on Twitter: @AnalisaTro

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