Nonprofit gives away tablets so COVID-19 patients can stay connected with family

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the cruelest aspects of COVID-19, for those hospitalized with the virus, is the inability to stay in contact with friends and family.

“It’s hard on the patient and it’s hard on the family members,” Thomas Simpson, a veteran healthcare worker, told FOX4. “It’s absolutely devastating to these people, to not be with their loved ones at that most crucial time.”

To Sara Rodell, the heartbreaking situation seemed like it should have a straightforward solution.

“A wildly tragic problem that actually had a somewhat of a simple solution,” Rodell said. “If we could just get technology into the right place at the right time.”

So Rodell found the nonprofit ‘COVID Tech Connect,’ a way to get free Android tablets to hospitals so patients can stay in touch with their loved ones. 

“The problem is that people would often come to the hospital without their chargers for their phones,” Rodell explained. “And there’s so many things going on, in order to facilitate a phone call, there’s actually a lot of things that have to happen, especially if someone doesn’t have access to their own device.”

Hospitals can request free tablets by going to the COVID Tech Connect website and clicking on ‘request devices’.

Rodell said her nonprofit has already provided about 8,000 tablets to nearly 800 hospitals worldwide and is actively focusing on the Kansas City region. 

“Of course the best thing is to be able to be there in person,” Rodell said. “But when you can’t be there in person, to be able to have this experience of seeing and feeling the spirits of your loved one is absolutely priceless.”

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