Islanders players donate N95 masks to New York healthcare workers

New York Islanders centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) acknowledges the fans as his plays against his former team the Ottawa Senators first period NHL hockey action in Ottawa on Thursday, March 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

As COVID-19 cases continue to soar in and around New York, doctors, nurses and others on the front lines have faced a strain on their supplies of medical-grade N95 masks, with the worst of the epidemic likely yet to come.

Players from the New York Islanders became the latest to make a contribution towards remedying this potentially deadly shortage, donating over 3,000 N95 masks to New York-area medical facilities, the team announced on Twitter Thursday night.

The Islanders’ donation was made to Northwell Health, a nonprofit integrated healthcare network of 23 hospitals and nearly 800 outpatient facilities in New York state.

In March, hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer began making protective visors for healthcare workers. Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel has donated as well, purchasing 5,000 of the masks made by Bauer and donating them to Buffalo-area hospitals.

N95 masks in particular are in demand among medical providers because they provide a tight fight and help prevent a person from inhaling small, airborne infectious particles — a primary means of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

As of Thursday night, at least 92,300 COVID-19 cases have been identified and reported in New York state alone — the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States — and more than 2,400 people have died, according to a database maintained by the New York Times.

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