Leaders from three Utah community organizations joined together at the Deseret Industries store in Murray to mark a grassroots medical milestone and thank the more than 50,000 Utahns who helped create medical-grade masks for frontline caregivers treating COVID-19 patients.

The goal of the grassroots initiative, known as ProjectProtect, was to enlist thousands of sewing volunteers across the state to manufacture personal protective equipment for frontline caregivers, including more than five million medical-grade masks.

The project is the largest Utah-based volunteer effort since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Here are some of the statistics:

  • 50,000 volunteers from Utah and Idaho participated in the initiative
  • 5 million masks sewn
  • 300,000 masks donated to the state of Utah for public use
  • 200,000 masks donated to Latter-day Saint Charities for use for vulnerable populations

Representatives and leaders from Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, Latter-day Saint Charities, and several Utah nonprofits, which organized and launched ProjectProtect, were on hand at the Deseret Industries in Murray to thank those who turned in masks for their time and service.

“There are many heroes during this pandemic, including our incredible caregivers,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO and President of Intermountain Healthcare. “But everyone in the community who has participated in this project are also heroes, and through their actions, have helped to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect many of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We’re grateful for their service.”

ProjectProtect also helped to produce reusable isolation gowns and more than 50,000 face shields, which are already being deployed to frontline caregivers for use while caring for patients.