A stitch at this time can save lives

Urgently required medical grade face masks will be freed up in Tasmania’s healthcare system thanks to an innovative community collaboration calling on Tasmanians to pick up a needle and thread to save lives while they practice social distancing.
Tasmanian CoronaVirus Solutions is a newly formed collaboration which aims to bring the community together to implement innovative solutions to help health care workers deal with the current COVID-19 challenges.
Tasmanian CoronaVirus Solutions spokesperson and registered nurse Bronwin Ballantyne said the group’s first project, Tassie Face Masks, aimed to address the shortage of medical face masks around the state.
“Through a collaboration between hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacies and local businesses we have developed a system modelled off a similar approach that is already established in the USA,” Ms Ballantyne said.
“The aim of the Tassie Face Masks project is that these masks will be used by patients to wear at surgeries on their arrival and on their journey home in order to free up medical grade masks for frontline clinical staff.
“We are calling on Tasmanians to join us to sew and donate cloth face masks which we will then distribute to settings most in need.
“They usually say a stitch in time saves nine, but stitching a mask at this time can save lives.
“It’s a simple process to help out, simply head to our Facebook page Tassie Face Mask Project and fill out the form indicating your capacity to donate, and then get sewing!
“Each day, local pharmacies will collect the donated masks and deliver to our medical laundering service, from there they will be delivered to local GP clinics, pharmacies and other health care services in order of most need.
“We are launching the project in Launceston, but will be quickly able to replicate the model in other areas where there is a need.
“We are incredibly thankful for the support of St.LukesHealth which will go towards the medical laundering of the face masks prior to their distribution to health care providers as well as the purchase of sanitised bags and material.”
St.LukesHealth CEO Paul Lupo said the organisation was pleased to be able to contribute to a local community health project directly helping those most in need during these difficult times.
“Now is the time for our community and business sector to join together to support our vital health care workers to allow them to continue their essential work and do as much as we can to help minimise the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
For more information on Tasmanian CoronaVirus Solutions or to get involved in the Tassie Face Mask Project visit their Facebook page or email tassiefacemasks@gmail.com
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