Octavia Spencer is donating breathing monitors to US hospitals to assist during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 47-year-old actress admitted she felt ''helpless'' watching the health crisis unfold but hopes her gesture can go some way to easing the pressure faced by medical staff.

She announced: ''I, like many of you, have felt helpless in knowing how to help during this time.

''Seeing what is happening in the communities that I love, I have teamed up with @Mikucare to donate monitors to nursing and medical facilities in Alabama and New York to provide much needed relief to nurses as they navigate care for COVID-19 patients.''

One member of medical staff tweeted to explain how Octavia's donation helped.

Tweeting under the handle @LeaderNuro, they shared a selection of photos and wrote: ''Thanks to a very generous donation helping staff to stay safe. Thank you #MIKU #OctaviaSpencer for allowing staff to complete assessments without entering the room.(sic)''

In response, the actress replied: ''Thanks for all you're contributing on the frontlines!(sic)''

The 'Hidden Figures' actress urged her followers to find ways to ''give back'' during the pandemic, as well as stressing the importance of adhering to social distancing guidelines.

She posted: ''Please everyone do your part to stay safe and stay home in order to protect yourself and the ones you love most and I hope we can all find ways - small and large - to give back to our neighbors, family, and those on the frontlines.''

Octavia recently praised Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson for speaking out when they were diagnosed with coronavirus.

She said: ''I'm sending speedy recovery prayers to both of them. I think it's important that Tom and Rita spoke out because they're allowing people to see that this disease, this virus, is non discriminating and we should protect ourselves at all costs.''