Lincoln County Dental delivered boxes of personal protective equipment April 7 to Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset for local first responders. LCD President Jim Olson and Executive Director Holly Stover collected equipment from four dental offices throughout the region and pooled their own equipment and resources for much needed relief on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Stover said donations included gloves, masks, safety boot covers, goggles and general eye protection, and medical grade full bodysuits.
Said Olson, “Some of the things local dentists are giving is stuff taken out of their offices. Some of them are things local dentists thought they would need to stay open … I think a lot of dentists have been preparing for what they would need if they want to practice – but they're not practicing anymore. So, these materials are much better used by first responders. You know, they get a call, they have to go into a home and they don't know what they're going into … It's a matter of priority.”
With a global shortage of masks in particular, Stover said efforts to keep first responders stocked will mean all hands on deck. However, that does not mean dentists are closing to all patients, Olson continued. Local dentists are still seeing patients in need of emergency care. “Holly has been working with some of our funds to take people who are in a lot of trouble and finding a place for them.”
LCD, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, serves low income Lincoln County residents at the 200%-or-lower level of the federal poverty line. “These are the people who could never otherwise afford dentistry and can't afford it now, so they rely on clinics like ours,” Stover said. “We don't have a low-income dental clinic in Lincoln County and so what we're doing is opening one – and we just happened to fall right in the middle of this pandemic.”
Olson said the Maine Dentists Association has a program keeping track of all offices that have donated to their local EMS services, and the list is growing. “I think this will help the EMT people, the emergency people on the front lines … of medical care.”
The Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services’ donation box is near the courthouse steps at the front handicap entrance: 32 High St., Wiscasset. The county is seeking N95 masks, surgical protective masks, nitrile gloves, eye protection, face shields, disposable protective gowns or suits, disposable shoe covers, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and sprays.
Large donations can be coordinated with County Administrator Carrie Kipfer at 882-6311.