SALT LAKE CITY, May 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- No task is too small to help make a difference in the fight against COVID-19 and volunteers from around Utah have now sewn more than two million medical-grade masks as a part of ProjectProtect, a grassroots initiative to help ensure the safety of frontline caregivers
Taking part in that effort is Intermountain Healthcare Board of Trustees Chair and Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller, who has personally sewn 200 masks along with family members who have sewn another 1,800.
Miller is now encouraging others to volunteer to help ensure that frontline caregivers at Intermountain and University of Utah Health have the necessary protection and safety when treating patients with the coronavirus.
"It's such an enlightened project for me and I'm just really pleased to be a part of it," said Miller. "It's exciting to have a little hand in helping healthcare because I'm at that critical age where I don't want to go outside, I want to be very careful. So, this gives me an opportunity to do service and feel useful."
This personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital to keeping caregivers safe, but due to worldwide demand has caused shortages. The effort aims to ensure medical workers continue to have the PPE they need.
"From an initial call, an important partnership was born," said Sharon Eubank, president of Latter-day Saint Charities and first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. "This team, from multiple organizations and a variety of professions, has moved mountains to make ProjectProtect possible. We're so happy to be a part of this community effort!"
The effort has gained the backing of celebrities like PGA Tour winner and Utah native Tony Finau, whose foundation donated $100,000.
"We are proud to be a part of this, but more so, to help those on the front lines of the crisis who are the true heroes," said Finau. "I invite everyone to help support this important community initiative."
Details about what volunteers will be asked to do:
- They need the ability to follow detailed instructions and use a sewing machine.
- They need a sewing machine, thread, scissors, and pins. Material and instructions will be provided.
- Each volunteer will be asked to make 100 masks. Depending on the sewer's level of experience, each mask will take five to 10 minutes to sew.
- Volunteers should expect to spend 10 to 15 hours sewing, plus they'll need to pick up the materials and return the finished masks.
More than 20,000 people have already volunteered in finishing the first two million masks and organizers are hoping for another 30,000 volunteers to reach the goal of five million.
"We invite all who are able and willing to sew medical grade masks to join us as we work together to ensure that caregivers battling COVID-19 have the equipment they need to stay safe," said Dan Liljenquist, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intermountain.
"We've seen heart-wrenching stories of healthcare workers all over the world who are caring for COVID-19 patients without the protection they need and deserve," added Tad Morley, vice president of outreach and network development at University of Utah Health. "We realized our regular supply chain couldn't handle the demand and we didn't want our frontline staff to face that same situation. So, we tapped into the resources that are based in the community to make sure they were protected."
To volunteer for ProjectProtect and receive a kit with needed supplies click here.
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see intermountainhealthcare.org.
SOURCE Intermountain Healthcare