PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Calling all mask makers. Following the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraging everyone to wear masks, Banner Health is seeking 100,000 homemade masks for its employees and patients. On Monday, the Banner Health Foundation said it is looking for 100,000 hand-crafted "comfort" masks to be donated by volunteers, sewing groups, and companies with fabrication capabilities.
The new request is in line with the CDC's latest recommendation to wear masks in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The CDC updated its recommendations on masking late last week, advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus (and not know it) from transmitting it to others.
The CDC said that many people who actually do have coronavirus lack symptoms, and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms themselves.
As a professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine and a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center caring for the most vulnerable in this pandemic, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about COVID-19.
Because homemade masks are not medical grade, they will not be worn by providers directly caring for COVID-19 patients, nor in procedure rooms or isolation areas, where only Banner-approved personal protective equipment must be worn.
Faced with increasing demand, Banner leaders are doing their best to preserve their inventory of medical-grade masks and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for critical front line employees, emphasizing the need for "comfort" masks for other health care workers who interact with patients and the public.
All comfort masks are welcome, but they must be made from a material that can be laundered. Before they're worn, donated masks will be professionally laundered by Prestige Cleaners, which has generously donated its services. After receiving a clean mask, staff and patients will be advised to personally launder their masks daily.
Garcia has so many requests, she can't keep up with the demand.
If you would like to donate comfort masks or other personal protection equipment, you can drop them off at one of two Valley collection sites. But all those who donate must follow Banner’s no-contact process:
Place the masks in a separate box, bag or container in your car's trunk labeled "homemade masks" with the quantity enclosed. (There’s no need to individually bag or package each mask.) Please place other supplies for donation in a separate container. Pull into the donation line at one of the two locations below and remain in your car with the windows up. Open your trunk and a volunteer wearing gloves and a mask will remove your items to be donated.
Where to donate:
Project C.U.R.E in Tempe
2100 W. 14th St., Building T3, Tempe
Donation Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Banner Olive Branch Senior Center in Sun City
11250 N. 107th Ave., Sun City
A table is set up outside to receive donations.
Donation Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 to 11 a.m.
Call 623-465-6000 upon arrival and a gloved and masked volunteer will come out to remove your donated items from your trunk with no contact.
If you cannot get to one of these drop off sites, you may mail/ship donated masks and other medical supplies to:
Project C.U.R.E for Banner Health
c/o Travis Gibson
2100 W. 14th St., Building T3
Tempe, AZ 85281
Please visit Banner Health Foundation’s website for a complete list of needed supplies and other ways you can help.