St. Peter’s Health is reaching out to the community for help. The goal? To make sure caregivers and other employees are equipped with N95 masks that can last longer.
“If I had to pick a date of when we would run out of N95 masks, I don't think I could. It would be a long time from now, but the key to get there, the way that we are making sure that’s a long time from now, if ever, is to protect the ones that we have. And the way you do that is to protect it with what we are asking the community to build for us,” says Shelly Harkins, the Chief Medical Officer at St. Peter’s Health.
What they are asking the community to build are protective masks. These masks will serve as a second layer to a N95 mask. St. Pete says a second layer can help masks last a few days longer.
“And when they look on our website and make those masks, they then donate them to us at a drop box that we set up. They will go through a very strenuous, quality check to make sure they are exactly what we need. Then, they will be laundered regularly with Clorox and bleach so that they can be reused,” says Harkins.
St. Pete provided a link to video instructions that show how these masks are made. With so many positions requiring hands-on work, it is becoming challenging for St. Pete to place workers in a remote environment which is why they are asking for help.
“There is still a lot of doubt out there that maybe this is unnecessary. I just want to assure from my perspective as a physician, as a community member, as a mom, this is a very serious issue. And what we’re facing is unprecedented, we’ve never seen it in our lifetime,” says Harkins.
Donation items can be dropped off at the St. Peters Broadway Clinic Monday - Friday. For more information on how to make these protective masks, and other ways to help the community, click here.