Due to shortage, Moab hospital asks willing crafters to sew, donate protective masks

Images: Moab Regional Hospital Facebook page

MOAB, Utah, March 20, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Due to a national shortage of personal protective face masks, health care professionals at Moab Regional Hospital are asking willing crafters to sew and donate a homemade version.

“We have a very limited supply of face masks and are asking for donations from the community,” says a post on the Moab Regional Hospital Facebook page.

“We especially appreciate N95-type masks that are recommended by the CDC to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus. As you may know, the mask supply chain has been seriously disrupted and MRH is making contingent plans for the very real possibility that we may not get any additional masks until August (current backorder date) or worse.”

So, perhaps calling on Utah’s pioneer spirit, the hospital worked with a local sewing shop, Canyonland Quilts, which came up with a face mask pattern and an instructional video for those willing to sew homemade masks.

The masks are made from multiple layers of fabric and some batting, the fibrous layer of material stitched inside quilts. The design includes a pocket for an added medical filter and a section of wire to shape fabric against the wearer’s nose. Darts — tucks that come to a point — also help shape masks around the wearer’s nose and chin.

Thin straps of sewing elastic are attached, and slip behind the ears of the wearer to keep the mask more snug against the face.

“We are so grateful to members of the community that have so generously donated their time and skills to produce the face mask pattern that is included in this post,” the hospital’s post says. “We especially want to thank the team at Canyonland Quilts who not only produced a tutorial video, but are also willing to field questions about mask pattern, material, and other ways to help. They can be reached at 435-355-0358 (office) or 435-668-7454 (cell).

“We thank everyone for their willingness to help us improve the mask pattern and create these masks for us!”

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The hospital post said to “Watch for another soon to be shared pattern from Canyonland Quilts for gowns and boot covers — the next (PPE) items that are also in short supply!”

The hospital post said although it will appreciate donations, “Moab Regional Hospital makes no claim as to the effectiveness of this mask design. No matter how carefully designed and produced, no homemade mask has yet been shown to be as effective as a medical grade mask and thus is not considered FDA approved PPE. For that reason, our providers will only use homemade masks as a last resort, once we run out of current FDA approved PPE.”

The hospital also noted it does not recommend that people without COVID-19 symptoms wear masks in public.

“Wearing a mask when asymptomatic may give a false sense of security. Furthermore, the outside of the mask may become contaminated in a way that can easily be transferred to the mask wearer. However, if you are coughing or sneezing, wearing a mask while in public spaces will help to reduce the spread of disease.”

To view the mask-sewing tutorial video, click here.

Image: Moab Regional Hospital Facebook page

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