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In response to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of 10 Floridians and sickened 17 people in Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation has approved a supplemental grant to Sarasota Memorial Hospital of more than $1 million to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Funds will be used to bolster equipment currently in use at the hospital, enhance cleaning and infection control, and assist hospital staff.

"Helping SMH provide excellent healthcare to our community is the very core of our mission," Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation
president Mason Ayres said in a release. "With the critical nature of this pandemic, we immediately asked our hospital partner, 'How can we help?,' and moved quickly to direct funds where the hospital said they needed them the most."

Grants include:

$368,023 for Hamilton MR1 ventilators provided through a gift from the Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust. The ventilators are specifically designed to ventilate and shield patients in the vicinity of an MRI scanner.

$157,500 for the BioFire Film Array Torch, which provides the latest in molecular infectious disease diagnostics, and is designed to meet SMH's infectious disease testing needs.

$255,885 for three Tru-D Smart UVC disinfection robots to enhance infection control at the health system's long- and short-term skilled nursing facilities, its main campus and its North Port emergency room. Sarasota Memorial already has three Tru-D robots cleaning the hospital.

$74,671 for audio/video telemedicine communication carts that will be used by clinicians to help assess COVID-19 patients who are in isolation, facilitating physician consults and minimizing clinician exposure to patients.

$30,000 for Vapotherm Precision Flow Plus, a device that provides humidified high-flow oxygen to patients in respiratory distress.

The Healthcare Foundation added in a release that a number of community members have expressed a desire to help during these uncertain times; in an effort to accommodate those requests, a special COVID-19 Patient Care Fund has been established. For more information, visit smhf.org or call the foundation at (941) 917-1286.