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Cloth Masks still needed – Intermountain Healthcare collecting cloth face masks for the community

Intermountain Healthcare

The Centers for Disease Control has updated guidelines asking everyone to wear a mask while out in public, even if it’s a cloth covering. The CDC says a cloth covering, along with social distancing and good hand hygiene, can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Utah has recently seen a steady spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases as restrictions have been loosened.

Along with the CDC, Intermountain Healthcare clinicians are encouraging Utahns to continue wearing cloth face coverings and masks when out in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to help, Intermountain Healthcare is continuing its collection of cloth face coverings sewn by volunteers.

During the past few weeks, Intermountain Healthcare has collected and sanitized more than 53,000 cloth face coverings.

Thousands have already been distributed to hospitals and organizations around the state, including 3,000 that were donated to the Ogden Police Department for the funeral of fallen officer Nathan Lyday.

Several other schools and government agencies have also received the cloth coverings.

Donations of face masks are vital to slowing the spread of the virus and can be given to visitors and non-front line caregivers at Intermountain Healthcare facilities.

This also helps preserve the medical grade masks which are used by caregivers on the front lines and have been in short supply due to worldwide demand. The benefit of cloth face coverings is they can be washed and reused several times.

Intermountain Healthcare implemented a way to collect these face coverings using 28 bins set up throughout the state. After a donation the face coverings are collected, properly sanitized, and shipped to where they’re most needed.

“One thing we love about living in Utah is people just want to help in any way they can,” said Dr. Shannon Phillips, chief patient experience officer at Intermountain Healthcare. “To see how many people have been sewing these face covers is just astonishing.”

These drop-off donation sites are different from ProjectProtect, a grassroots partnership between Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to produce medical-grade masks that can be used by frontline caregivers. ProjectProtect is coming to an end this week after volunteers sewed more than five million masks.

The collection and distribution of cloth face coverings is continuing because the need is still so great.

Anyone who wants to volunteer is encouraged to join the effort. The coverings are taken from the drop off bins to central laundry where they will be cleaned and sanitized for use. They will then be sent to hospitals and clinics throughout Utah for distribution to visitors and caregivers.

To learn more about how to sew a mask or where people can drop off donations click here

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