Michael Garron Hospital puts out call for residents to help sew fabric masks

Michael Garron Hospital on Coxwell Avenue is collecting donations of personal protective equipment and sewn fabric masks.

By CHESKA LIM

Michael Garron Hospital recently launched The PPE Drive asking the public to donate unopened, not expired, personal protective equipment to their facility in response to COVID-19.

Created by medical leaders within the hospital community, the website states that the purpose of the campaign is to “support anticipated shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the health system”.

Please visit the PPE website at www.theppedrive.com for specific information on what items are needed and how to donate them.

The hospital has also put out a request for sewn masks.

In a tweet on Thursday March 26, @MGHFoundation wrote “#MichaelGarronHospital needs 1,000 masks a week and you can help! If you’re a sewist, or know someone who is, help us meet our challenge”.

The challenge the Coxwell Avenue hospital is proposing to the East Toronto community is to sew 1,000 masks per week.

On the website at www.mghf.ca/mgh1000masks are detailed instructions on how to make a fabric mask well as, the items needed in order to create them. The website states that fabric masks will not be given to healthcare providers.

Instead, the masks will be given to “approved visitors who enter Michael Garron Hospital”, “discharged patients as they reintegrate into the community”, and will be distributed to the “broader community” in an effort to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

“We want to see all east enders wearing a fabric mask when they need to be within six feet of other people,” Medical Director Dr. Jeff Powis said on the challenge’s website, “especially vulnerable populations and the elderly”.

Although the hospital received a majority of positive comments upon the #mgh1000masks challenge, some questioned how effective the fabric masks were going to be against preventing the spread of the disease.

The University of Sydney in Australia conducted a study in 2015 where they tested to see if cloth masks were just as protective as medical masks. The results came out as negative.

In addressing concerns about the usefulness of the cloth masks, Michael Garron Hospital said, “It’s so important that our community follow the important safety advice of public health officials during this pandemic… the fabric masks being sewn in East Toronto are an additional safety measure to keep people safe.”

Donated fabric masks can be dropped off at Michael Garron Hospital’s Coxwell lobby between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All other donated personal protective equipment can be dropped off at the hospital’s receiving dock on Knight Street, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Social distancing rules will be applied in both situations.


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