SIRCH, in collaboration with Haliburton Highlands Health Services, will be serving as a collection depot for homemade fabric face masks.
HHHS has been working closely with the Regional
Health Unit to determine best practice with respect to this form of equipment for both current and future requirements. They do currently have sufficient quantities of medical masks but recognize that fabric masks could be a response option when other supplies have been exhausted.
Fabric masks can also be used in the community, for non-medical individuals who want to be safe when needing to be out and about. People shouldn’t consider wearing a homemade face mask as a substitute for regularly washing their hands and other preventative measures, such as physical distancing and not touching their face. But masks may help reduce droplet transmissions in closer quarters with people.
Many individuals have already begun sewing masks for HHHS or for other hospitals that have put out the call. SIRCH wants to take it one step further and make masks available to Haliburton County residents who may benefit.
“HHHS has first dibs, of course, on any masks received by SIRCH” said Gena Robertson, Executive Director of SIRCH. “But we hope we receive many thousands so they are available to give to cashiers, delivery people, tenants in social housing, people in food services, anyone caring for someone with Covid-19. “
SIRCH will act as a central clearing house:
- Community members sew masks to the specifications outlined below
- They drop clean masks in the bin outside SIRCH Central (2 Victoria Street in Haliburton) (or SIRCH will find someone to pick them up)
- Masks will be re-cleaned and sanitized by HHHS, then returned to SIRCH
- SIRCH volunteers will bag the masks individually, using protective gear to avoid contamination
- Bags will have a label with instructions for wearing and washing instructions
- Masks will be distributed to businesses, organizations and residents who request them.
“This is a terrific idea and of course could benefit so many in the county, exclaimed Lisa Tompkins, Executive Director of Haliburton Highlands Health Services Foundation. “We’d be very happy to support SIRCH’s coordination of this initiative overall and going forward.”
Masks need to meet the following specifications:
- Double fabric, pleated mask design, ideally with dark polyester (or 100% cotton) outside, and 100% lighter-coloured cotton inside. It is requested that cotton fabric is pre-washed (to allow for any shrinkage).
- Elastic ear loops or cloth ties
It’s important that a homemade mask be moisture-resistant, washable and washed regularly. That’s why most do-it-yourselfers are using cotton T-shirts or cotton sheets.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr.Teresa Tam, has said that non medical masks (e.g. homemade face masks) may stop you from touching your mouth and nose and could help cover your cough if you are ill or have early symptoms of Covid-19. But it can’t be an excuse to ignore measures such as hand washing, social distancing and self-isolation. Mask-wearing must be complementary to, not a substitute for, other actions.
Barb Fawcett, President of SIRCH and a talented weaver and seamstress, offers step-by-step instructions for making a mask here (CLICK ON IMAGE)
There are also instructions from the Michael Garron Hospital.
Drop your clean masks in the bin outside SIRCH Central, 2 Victoria Street, Haliburton any weekday between 9 and 4, and on weekends between 11 and 2.
Together we can do a lot!