Announcement: Lauri Nebel Cullen
Updated Status – March 25, 2020: The suitability and use of cloth facemasks in our hospitals is being evaluated as the COVID-19 epidemic has created a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). At this time, our plan is to make a small quantity of cloth facemasks for the hospitals, based on a new pattern, and test them. We have a group of volunteers who are making these “test masks” now. The outpouring of support from the community to provide assistance to our hospitals has been overwhelming. We want to respect your time and resources to make sure we are asking for a product that can be utilized in the event of an extreme emergency. Therefore, we are not requesting any masks be made for the hospitals until this evaluation has been completed. We are so grateful to live in such a caring community and appreciate your generosity and patience.
We would also like to relay the following information that is guiding our actions. We are aware that cloth masks are not effective to prevent COVID-19 infection and may provide an unjustified feeling of safety against viral and bacterial infections.
The guidance set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that cloth masks should be considered personal protection of last resort.:
In settings where facemasks are not available, Health Care Personnel (HCP) might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), since their capability to protect is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.(1)
Cloth masks do not protect against COVID-19, they have not been scientifically shown to be effective against the spread of diseases. We are requesting these cloth masks only to be used for a dire emergency hospital situation where commercial surgical masks and N95 masks are in extremely short supply or unavailable. “Masks for Green Bay” does not want to mislead the community because we have requested these masks for the hospitals. The general public, including the elderly, should not be wearing cloth masks in the belief that it will prevent COVID-19.