The COVID Help Network continues to grow as state governments, facilities, businesses and organizations across 32 states have been utilizing the platform.
“It’s to help connect folks within the medical community, to hospitals directly, to governors directly,” said filmmaker Mark Kassen. “We were able to build a piece of technology that could handle a lot of traffic.”
Working with engineers, Kassen’s production company, Like Minded Media, is behind the operation in partnership with Masimo, a medical technology company, and the Patient Safety Movement, an organization working to eliminate “preventable harm and death in health care” globally. By linking health-care establishments and state governments with companies, the endeavor is facilitating communication and aid during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were at the center of a couple of communities that wanted to help each other, and so we started off just referring people from one industry who could help people in another industry and that started to grow,” he said. Kassen’s mother is a nurse, and his father was a pharmacist. “I have a soft spot for health-care workers, as we all, I’m sure, do in our own way.”
Using covidhelpnetwork.com, governments, facilities and businesses are able to search by state or need, depending on the objective. Medical and regulatory experts are also available to help businesses establish necessary protocols.
Among the companies are fashion brands that have put a pause on their previous operations to create masks and gowns. Brooklyn-based Kaimin has been producing “over 3,500 gowns per week” for New York health-care workers in cooperation with the mayor’s office, shared Kassen.
“And Rothy’s wanted to find a way to help contribute,” he continued, of the sustainable shoe brand. “So, in addition to being able to make a donation of 100,000 nonsurgical masks, donating tens of thousands of dollars, they connected us with Leesa, a company that makes mattresses and wanted to be able to make those mattresses available and create pop-up beds in hospitals.”
The COVID Help Network then connected Leesa with Medline, a U.S. medical supply distributor, to work to create and disperse bed kits for pop-up hospitals.
“There’s also Nineteenth Amendment,” he continued. “They do all the garment creations for ‘Project Runway.’ They served this cool TV show on Bravo, then instantly flipped to be able to now make 295,000 masks a week through a decentralized network of sowers.”
The platform has also been a way for states to work together. “We’re been able to connect people like a pharmacist in Austin, Tex. [at Lake Hills Pharmacy], who was able to sell [130,000 N95 and surgical] masks to the University of Vermont Health Network and [health organizations] in California,” said Kassen. “Someone else in New Hampshire was able to sell [more than two million] masks to Florida.”
He’s had positive feedback from state leaders, he added. “Governors are trying to do the best they can, and the more options they have at finding portals to organizations that can give them access to various communities, the better.”