Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health appreciate the generosity of so many people in the community who are looking for ways to support the COVID-19 response.
In particular, many have offered to donate homemade cloth masks to local hospitals and clinics to help protect frontline caregivers. Unfortunately, homemade cloth masks do not provide the appropriate level of antimicrobial protection for caregivers in close contact with patients with COVID-19. As a result, University of Utah Health and Intermountain hospitals and clinics are not able to accept these homemade cloth masks for use at this time.
There is evidence https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24229526 that homemade cloth masks may offer some antimicrobial protection. Such masks – combined with appropriate physical or social distancing – may help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. More information on how to use these masks will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, Intermountain Healthcare and University of Utah Health are working with several charitable organizations in the state to develop a process for the community to assist in producing medical grade masks.
As soon as that process is fully developed, the two health systems will share that information broadly and invite community volunteers to assist with producing those specific masks.
To protect patients, caregivers, and communities from the spread of the COVID, Intermountain and U of U Health also are not accepting any drop-off donations of toys, blankets, foods, or other physical items at this time.
The community is asked not to call the COVID-19 hotlines regarding donations, so that those resources remain available for individuals with medical needs.
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