Adrian Boteanu / Sun File Photo

The Cayuga Medical Center, like hospitals across the country, is facing a shortage of medical supplies. Volunteer efforts and donations are helping make up for the shortage.

April 15, 2020

Cayuga Medical Center Collects Homemade Masks, Tablets to Combat Supply Shortage

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For those looking to help out with the response to the coronavirus, the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation is seeking donations of medical supplies, homemade masks and tablets.

As hospital supplies dwindle around the country, supplies of most urgent need include N95s, procedural masks, level 3 surgical masks, latex-free gloves, bleach wipes, hand sanitizer and culture swabs.

Cayuga Medical Center is also accepting homemade cloth masks, which will be worn by healthcare professionals. Volunteers can attend an on-site mask-making event at Bartels Hall which has distanced stations set up, or they can make masks from home. Those interested are asked to fill out a sign-up form.

Volunteers have sewn over 3,000 masks for healthcare workers, since mask-making production began on March 24 at Bartels Hall.

Before they can be used, all donated homemade masks are washed and sanitized in the medical center’s on-site laundry and sterile processing departments.

Volunteers worked at surgical mask making stations at a Bartels Hall practice court on March 25, with tables spaced to practice safe social distancing.

Courtesy of Cayuga Medical Center

Volunteers worked at surgical mask making stations at a Bartels Hall practice court on March 25, with tables spaced to practice safe social distancing.

Hospital wards, including the Cayuga Medical Center, have restricted patient’s families from visiting to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. To facilitate video calls between patients and their families, the hospital is also accepting iPads and other tablets.

Prof. Kim Overby, science and technology studies, is one of the Cornell faculty members spearheading the effort to gather the devices and said that it was emotionally important for patients to be able to connect with their families.

“Families are so distraught when they can’t talk to their loved ones. We want to make a difference as quickly as possible,” Overby said.

Since collections began in early April, several dozen have already been donated. Overby estimates 150 devices are needed to meet the project’s goals.

Devices must have a front-facing camera and should be reset using Apple’s instructions. They must be donated in a zip-close bag, with a power cord if possible.

Tompkins County has 116 positive cases of coronavirus at the time of publication, a number that the Tompkins County Health Department updates each evening.

Martin Stallone, CEO and President of Cayuga Medical Group, said the medical group remains committed to serving the community and is grateful for the donors’ support. So far, Cayuga Medical has received donations from over 50 local businesses and schools, including donations from many Cornell departments like civil and environmental engineering and fiber science.

“Cayuga Health is proud to support our physicians, nurses, healthcare professionals, and administrators who are working tirelessly to respond to the COVID-19 crisis while continuing to provide high-level care to our region,” Stallone said in an April 2 statement.

All donations can be mailed to the Cayuga Medical Center Foundation on 767 Warren Road Ithaca, NY 14853 or dropped off at this location between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday

Donations can also be dropped off at these locations at these times:


  • Cornell Campus Bartels Hall: 554 Campus Road, Ithaca 14853, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday
  • Trumansburg Fire Station: 74 West Main Street, Trumansburg 14886, open 24 hours