Staff Report

CoastHillls Credit Union donated more than 900 N95 respirator masks to Lompoc Valley Medical Center on Friday. Like many healthcare facilities around the world, the hospital’s supply is running dangerously low.

Unlike typical surgical masks, N95 respirators filter out 95 percent of airborne particles and are a crucial element of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in helping limit the spread of infectious diseases like coronavirus among medical personnel.

“When we initially learned about the COVID-19 threat in January, we purchased these masks to help keep our staff and members safe — not truly knowing how scarce the N95 masks would become,” CoastHills President/CEO Paul Cook said. “With the critical need for PPE to help keep our local medical professionals protected, it didn’t take a second thought. We quickly secured replacements for our employees, so we could provide the professionals at Lompoc Valley Medical Center the medical-grade masks they deserve.

“We’re honored to assist our medical community in their mission of caring for our neighbors.”

Said Lompoc Valley Medical Center CEO Steve Popkin: “We would be in a difficult situation if we didn’t have the support of, and donations from, the community and great companies such as CoastHills.

“It makes a huge difference.”

With the current enhanced use of PPE due to COVID-19, the donation of masks will provide a week’s worth of protection for the clinical and medical staff at LVMC. Popkin called the N95s the “gold standard” for protective facial wear.

The donation came on the same day the Credit Union also directed cash donations totaling $10,000 — $5,000 each to the Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County food banks.

An essential business that has remained open to provide needed banking services to more than 66,000 members on the Central Coast, CoastHills has been active in offering members loan payment relief options and providing local businesses access to federal relief funding.

Sponsoring the food bank is the latest way the Credit Union is helping support other essential organizations like the food banks, which have not only remained open but have ramped up their efforts to serve their communities during the pandemic.