Spectrum Health asks for help gathering masks

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Spectrum Health is asking the community to help them gather masks to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Although Spectrum, along with other hospitals, has been able to stock up on personal protective equipment, there is still an international shortage of medical-grade masks.

That is why Spectrum is asking people to forego buying up medical use masks and make CDC-recommended masks instead. 

In the last month, the hospital says it has collected 6,000 masks. Once they get the masks, they go through a medical laundering service, sorted and then given out. While medical staff can’t use the cloth masks, others who work in the hospital can.

“We have a lot of staff that work in the hospital, but they may not interact directly with patients. In that case, a homemade mask is perfectly fine for that type of employee,” said Kurt Knoth, vice president of supply chain for Spectrum Health.

The hospital says they want to give the additional masks to people in the area who need them. They say their top priority is places like nursing homes and long-term care facilities. 

“We know that those are areas that can turn into hot spots if we’re not careful, so we want to make sure they have the proper personal protection equipment,” said Knoth.

The hospital is now asking the community to sew and donate masks. They say they don’t have a specific goal for the number of masks they hope to collect but they know there is a need for at least several thousand more. 

“This is one small way that anyone that can learn to sew really quickly or has been doing it their whole life. It’s one little thing that they can do to help, but it really truly does saves lives,” said Knoth. 

Masks can be dropped off at the following locations until the end of April:

The hospital has more information on the sewing preferred patterns here.