Beginning mid-March, Memorial Hospital has received many donations of masks from the community. Around the country, masks are a major supply that hospitals are running out of and they highly suggest communities donate as much as they can to help in this crisis.
Community Relations and Community Health Director Kim Barton shared that more than 500 masks come through the community relations office and are quickly distributed. “I send those to our supply chain director for distribution to the frontline staff who are in direct contact with coronavirus patients,” Barton said. Families and friends of hospital staff have been doing their part along with Angela Bacarisse from the SFA Theatre department, who has organized the making of masks, head covers and isolation gowns.
“We were honestly a little skeptical when we first learned about the home-sewn masks,” Barton said. “The masks we typically use are medical grade and disposable for infection control reasons, but it’s becoming harder and harder to get those N95 masks and disposing of them is just not an option.”
After realizing that traditional protocols could no longer be followed, staff began using the home-sewn masks. The hand-made masks proved to be a good protector, as they are put on over the medical masks and help them last longer.
“It’s really touching that community members are using their own skills to be part of our team providing that front line of defense,” Barton said. Memorial Hospital is still open to donations, as the staff doesn’t have time during their 12 hour shifts many days during the week time to do laundry to clean the masks.
“We hope to provide each front line staff member with three sewn masks so they can have a clean start each day,” Barton said. If wanting to make masks to donate, follow either of these guides linked here.
And when it’s time to donate, Community Relations Intern Jenna Smith explained that people can either come to the front lobby entrance on Mound Street or call ahead of time for any more information at 936-564-4611.