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Intermountain and U of U Healthcare said they are unable to accept homemade masks.
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Intermountain, U of U Health Say They Can’t Accept Homemade Masks

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Two major healthcare providers said Wednesday that they could not accept homemade cloth masks for their caregivers fighting on the frontlines against the novel coronavirus.

“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,” the providers announced in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, homemade cloth masks do not provide the appropriate level of antimicrobial protection for caregivers in close contact with patients with COVID-19.”

The statement noted evidence that homemade cloth masks do provide some protection from the spread of disease while promising more information about how the masks could be put to use in the community.

The companies also said they were working with charitable organizations to come up with a plan for the community to assist in creating medical grade masks.

In Utah County, Connie Parsons said she used her sewing room to assemble 82 fabric masks for potential use at a nursing home for veterans if the facility ran out of other masks.

“Being over 60, I needed to stay home, and so I thought, ‘what can I do to help?’” Parsons said. “There are all kinds of patterns online and the companies are giving the patterns away free, so there’s lots of things people can do and this is just one little thing I thought maybe I can help with.”

She said she was inspired to help veterans because of her late father, Wells Cloward, who was a veteran of World War II.

“He was in the Navy, he was on a troop carrier in the Pacific,” Parsons recalled. “He was always a very giving man. Anyone who knew him knew that his word was his bond and he never had an enemy. I’d just like to be a little bit like my dad.”

While she acknowledged that hospital workers did need as much protection as possible, she believed other groups and businesses in the community like the nursing home she helped might eventually need the homemade masks.

“If they run out, these would be viable,” said Parsons as she referenced some brightly-patterned homemade masks that sat on her lap.

Parsons said she was moved by others in the community doing whatever they could to fight the pandemic.

“I find it very uplifting the way I see people pulling together,” Parsons said. “I think if we pull together, we can do this.”

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