#VirusUP group continues to help nurses and essential workers through Project Shower

UPPER PENINSULA — Monika Kross is the founder of #VirusUP, a group dedicated to providing personal protection equipment and other necessities to essential workers across the Upper Peninsula.

For the group’s latest effort, Kross teamed up with fellow member Serene Poyer to organize Project Shower. They’ve contacted hotels in every county that have agreed to set aside a room for nurses to shower and change in after work. This will allow them to help protect their families, as well as anyone else they might encounter between work and home.

“I got a lot of calls from nurses, CNAs, EMTs—mainly from Marquette and Escanaba—that are asking for this, so I wanted to make that happen for them,” Kross says. “We’ve got hotels next to every hospital for the nurses to shower in, and they can change. They’re worried about taking it home to their family, but what if they want to pick up some milk at the grocery store before going home? They definitely need to be changed out for that, and I want to make that happen for them.”

The hotels Kross and Poyer spoke with have set guidelines in place to keep their staff members safe, and they’re looking forward to serving the UP’s frontline workers as soon as possible. Nurses are encouraged to contact Kross through the #VirusUp Facebook page for Project Shower locations and information.

Kross herself was a firefighter medic, until her career was cut short by a stroke that killed her immune system. She’s passionate about keeping others healthy during this pandemic, because she knows the struggle personally.

“The way that you’re living now, I have to live like that every day to stay alive,” explains Kross. “So I definitely have a lot of passion for saving lives. It’s always been in my heart. It’s something that I love, and I’m happy to be back doing that.”

#VirusUP is involved with numerous other initiatives, such as Project Cure and Mask Match, as well as acquiring masks for firefighters. Kross says in this time of great need, everyone has a way to help.

“It may seem like things are progressing slowly here in the UP; it may seem silly to prepare so much right now, but we’re going to get knee–deep in this,” says Kross. “Even Detroit can’t get more PPE right now. So we need to come up with even nontraditional procurements, which is what my organization is trying to do. Everybody can do something. Everybody can help.”

Nurses interested in connecting with a hotel for Project Shower and anyone interested in getting involved can contact Kross and #VirusUP on Facebook. The current list of participating hotels and contact information can be found below.

Staybridge Hotel*- Marquette 906-225-9901
Old Hospital – Marquette
The Hiawatha Hotel*- Escanaba (906)-786-1341
AmericInn*- Iron River 906-265-5013
Econolodge – Iron Mountain 906-776-8000
Comfort Suites – Manistique 906-341-6981
Lakeshore Motel*-Iron River 906-265-3611
AericInn – Calumet
Plaza Motor Inn* – Soo 906-635-1881
Huron Inn Motor – St Ignace 906-984-2244
Mid City Motel*-Sault Ste Marie 906-632-6832
Triangle Motel*-Ispheming 906-485-5537
L’Anse Motel & suites 906-524-7820
Tall Pines Motel*-Negaunee 906-475-6608