Hospitals appreciate your handmade masks, but are declining donations

The public is still encouraged to make masks for personal use
Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 14:31:54-04

While local hospitals appreciate the gesture of donated homemade masks — especially as they battle COVID-19 with dwindling supplies — they are also declining the donations.

"I don’t know if we’ve had anyone try to drop any off, if we have, you know we’re grateful for the gesture, but at this point we’re not going to have our healthcare workers use them," said Mary Masson, the director of public relations at Michigan Medicine hospital, explaining that the hospital was not accepting or using non-medical grade face masks.

The University of Michigan-affiliated hospital is not alone. WXYZ reached out to several local hospitals — Beaumont, Henry Ford, DMC, and Ascension all said the same thing: They appreciate the generosity but were not accepting non-medical grade face masks at this time.

"We are accepting new and unused medical supplies, like disposable masks, but for safety reasons we’re not accepting home-made masks, blankets, food, things like that," David Olejarz, a spokesperson for Henry Ford Health system said.

This doesn't mean one should give up on the hobby completely. While medical professionals may be unable to use the homemade masks at this time, said Masson, their creation is still supported.

"We really are encouraging people if they’re interested to go ahead and make them, because we think they may prove useful in the community as the situation progresses," Masson said.

McClaren-Macomb also said they would accept homemade masks for their non-clinical employees.

Nationally, hospitals have spoken out about concerns regarding limited resources and supplies necessary to treat COVID-19.

On Tuesday, after many days of public pressure, FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor told Politico that President Donald Trump was expected to walk back his original stance against enacting the Defense Production Act.

The 1950 provision, which was created at the start of Korean War, allows a President to force certain industries to mass-produce low-supply items that are necessary for defense. Trump has been reticent to use the provision, saying he doesn't want to "nationalize" business. Instead, he has been relying on businesses to offer their assistance. Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler, for example, have all agreed to use their facilities for the production of masks, respirators and ventilator parts.

Should the Defense Production Act be green light, however, Gaynor told Politico that he estimates that the federal government will order 500 million personal protective masks and 60,000 test kits as a result.

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