U Iowa Health Care asking for hand sewn masks amid outbreak

IOWA CITY, Iowa- University of Iowa Health Care will now accept homemade cloth masks from individuals or manufacturers.

U-I Health care is recommending employees who do not have face-to-face contact with patients, can choose to wear cloth masks, with mandatory face shields to help prevent asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.

Health care employees who do have face-to-face patient contact are wearing medical-grade face masks, under their face shields.

“The community continues to step up with donations and support, and we couldn’t be more thankful,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president of UI Health Care. “We know some people who sew have been eager to help, so we’re now taking donations of face masks that follow the guidance and patterns identified by our leadership.”

UI Health Care is issuing some recommendations regarding homemade cloth masks:

Donated items must come from a smoke-free, dust-free, pet-free, and illness-free environment, and all fabric items must be made from new materials laundered in scent-free detergent.

Please use one of the two patterns for homemade cloth masks that can be downloaded for free from uihc.org/kind-donations:

· Olson Mask pattern

· Pleated mask pattern

Masks must be stored in a non-scented, new plastic bag for delivery.

The hospital will also accept hand sewn caps and hair coverings, which provides comfort to staff when wearing their face shield.

Dozens of donors have already supported the call for protective face shields. UI Health Care has distributed thousands of face shields to its employees. The shields are used by staff to keep employees and patients safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by covering the eyes, nose, and mouth. More face shields are needed that fall into the guidance below:

The protective face shields should be lightweight and adjustable to fit securely to the user’s head, with a shield area that extends below the chin. Previously used face shields are acceptable; UI Health Care staff can clean and disinfect used shields.

More information can be found at uihc.org/kind-donations.

Donated items are accepted outside the UI Hospitals & Clinics Main Entrance from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Please call Concierge Services at 319-356-1900 or 319-678-5500 to schedule a donation drop-off.

For your safety and the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff, you will be met you at your vehicle to accept donated items.

Please do not enter the Main Entrance with donated items.