UPMC healthcare workers using a lot more masks, donations needed

UPMC healthcare workers using a lot more masks, donations needed

PITTSBURGH — Surgical masks are being used up quickly during the coronavirus crisis, and donations are needed to help healthcare workers.

UPMC'S Supply Chain Donation Coordinator Melissa Matta said healthcare workers are far surpassing a typical day’s supply of masks. She estimated about five times more are being used.

“Currently, the staff is in dire need of masking,” Matta said.

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Matta couldn’t stress enough that if anyone has medical masks, please donate them to a local hospital.

For information on how to donate to UPMC, CLICK HERE.

The number of masks being used is about to go up even more because new mask protocols went into effect for UPMC this week.

Matta also cleared up some confusion about surgical masks versus N95 masks. She said surgical masks provide some protection, either on the patient or a healthcare worker. While UPMC will take those donations, she said N95 masks are key because they stop droplets from getting in.

“Some of them have vents, some of them do not, but they are fitted so that when a caretaker puts them on, they seal around the face,” Matta said.

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While Matta is grateful for people who are making surgical masks at home, she said UPMC can’t accept them right now. However, she’s not ruling anything out as the weeks go on.

For now, Matta said people should consider donating homemade masks to other facilities.

“Nursing homes, anywhere where you want to have your patients protected just a little bit extra,” Matta said.

Matta understands the urge for people to hang on to surgical masks at their homes and businesses, but she reminds them that if they end up in the hospital, they or their healthcare worker might not be protected.

Beyond surgical masks, Matta said protective goggles are also desperately needed.

Local woman sewing masks for those in need during coronavirus pandemic