Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 5, 2020
Groups collaborate to provide protective masks during pandemic

Several Tooele Valley groups continue to collaborate and show ingenuity to keep health care workers and the public equipped with protective masks during the Covid-19 epidemic.

Mountain West Medical Center, Tooele Valley Rotary Club, staff at Tooele High School, The UPS Store and members of the Nelson Peak Ward Relief Society all pitched in to make sure personal protective equipment is available.

Becky Trigg, spokesperson for MWMC, said all those helping to make the masks are very much appreciated.

She said as Covid-19 cases ramped up in March people throughout the county started making masks.

“It was at this time, the Mountain West Medical Center leadership team started to get creative and brainstormed possibilities of making sure the supply of masks did not run short for patients, visitors and employees. While some clinical area employees need to wear N95 masks, other employees also need to be protected and to protect others with some form of mask,” Trigg said.

During the brainstorming session, Jeff Beazer, operating department director at MWMC, suggested using the blue and white filtered wrap that is used for the packing and sterilization of surgical instruments as material for making masks.

The material is called Quick Check Sterilization Wrap and produced by Halyard Health. The material is double filtered, thick and is more protective than cloth masks.

“Many employees are still able to wear homemade cloth masks, as any type of mask is better than none,” Trigg said.

“We wanted to institute a universal masking of all employees, expecting them to be in a mask as they enter the hospital and clinics until they leave following their work shift. The sterile wrap material normally goes to waste after sterile instruments are unwrapped for. Once the packed sterile instruments are unwrapped for use, the material is discarded. Why not recycle this ‘precious’ material for this purpose?” she said.

Here’s where the Rotary Club and Nelson Peak Relief Society came to the rescue.

“Both Karlene Wells, president of the Rotary Club, and Cindy Adams from the Nelson Peak Relief Society had reached out early on to MWMC offering to sew masks if needed. The hospital asked these two individuals if they would be willing to make some samples using a specific pattern to see how they would turn out,” Trigg said.

Eventually a group of 18 ladies began sewing, and the first batch of sewn masks totaled around 1400 between the two groups.

Also during March, THS engineering teacher Cody Valdez began making face shields and extenders using 3D printers at the high school.

“The extenders make the masks fit more comfortably,” Valdez said. “For a while in March I was coming into the school four times a day to use the 3D printers to make the extenders and shields.”

Dawn Dalton works at THS and is the secretary for the Rotary Club.

“The masks were pulling on our ears so it was great to get the extenders,” she said.

Valdez said people at the school started donating money for material to make the shields and extenders, followed by a donation from Cindy Holler at The UPS Store.

Some of the extenders and shields made with the 3D printers at THS have been shipped to health care workers in the state of Washington and masks have been sent to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Tooele Rotary Club members have sewn more than 1900 masks with the material provided by MWMC.

In addition to making masks, community members have provided help to the hospital in other ways.

“Many kind gestures, meals, and cards have come from community members over the past couple of months and it has really helped keep the health care workers encouraged and feel supported during an unprecedented time. The local hospital is here and open, safe, and ready for you,” Trigg said.

MWMC staff wanted to thank the individuals who provided the  masks.

Rotary Club members who cut marked and sewed 1900 masks: Dawn Dalton, Becky Taylor,

Kathy England, Rosemary Hullinger, Jeri Klinsman, Sharon Falardeua, Phyllis Nicoll, Lorina Bishop, Michelle Holyoak, Ardith Higley, Jemela Davis, Sally Schmidt, Patrese Otero, Tera Porter, Barbara Simonds, Debbie Winn, Shellane Eaton, Crystal Zierenberg, Karlene Wells, and Mike Wells (did not sew but spent many hours helping and supporting the project).

Members and friends of the Nelson Peak Ward Relief Society who sewed 300 masks: Kristin Beckstead, Melanie Rogers, Hannah Rogers, Leann Blake, Sandy DeGraw, Holly Hanson, Debbie Hitesman, Kristy Craig, Diane Fowler, Lauren Jasper, Kathleen Steele, and Amy Vorwaller.


Mark Watson

Sports Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Mark directs all editorial coverage of sports in addition to reporting on a wide range of events from high school football to international racing. He has a wealth of journalism experience, having worked for four other newspapers in the state. Mark grew up in Tooele County and graduated from Grantsville High School and Brigham Young University.

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