Sanitizer bottles

Connection catalyzes new use for lab reserves

Low on supplies, Reading Hospital’s pharmacy was interested in using the World Health Organization’s sanitizer recipe to bolster its stock of sanitizer for staff members. But one key ingredient, ethyl alcohol, isn’t easily sourced this spring.

Luckily, Manatawny Still Works in Montgomery County, owned by alumnus Al Matarazzo ’92, was able to set aside 10 gallons, even while continuing to operate through the pandemic. And after a phone call from alumnus Blake Tobias Jr. ’17, Albright College donated another five gallons of laboratory-grade ethyl alcohol.

sanitizer bottles

“Being a biology major, I remembered my time in Albright’s labs with Dr. Campbell, so I reached out to her in search of ethanol, as well,” said Tobias. A longtime biology professor, Karen Campbell, Ph.D., is now provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the college.

Although Tobias currently leads the hospital’s incident command team for operational response to COVID-19, he normally works in operations development for Reading Hospital’s McGlinn Cancer Institute. Rising quickly though health care ranks, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Albright College as a first generation student in 2017 and completed his master’s degree in health administration, organizational development and leadership at Saint Joseph’s University in 2019.

With all supplies in hand, an assembly line of pharmacists and technicians began production at 8 a.m., on April 10.

“They were able to make more than 500 bottles with the donated supplies,” Tobias said.

“The support from Manatawny Still Works and Albright College is another example of what we, as a community, can accomplish when we work together,” said William M. Jennings, Reading Hospital president and CEO. “Our employees now have access to hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community.”

Make a donation of procedural masks, surgical masks, N95 masks, goggles, latex-free gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and isolation gowns, or learn more about drop-offs on the Reading Hospital’s website, or follow Reading Hospital – Tower Health on Facebook for updates.

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