New CDC guidelines recommend widespread community masking

In an effort to protect the health and safety of Banner Health employees and patients, the Banner Health Foundation is seeking 100,000 hand-crafted comfort masks donated by volunteers, sewing groups, and companies with fabrication capabilities. This request is in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest recommendation to wear masks in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The CDC updated its recommendations on masking late last week, advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus (and not know it) from transmitting it to others. The CDC cites recent studies showing a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms, and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms themselves.

Because homemade masks are not medical grade, they will not be worn by providers directly caring for COVID-19 patients, nor in procedure rooms or isolation areas, where only Banner-approved personal protective equipment must be worn. Faced with increasing global demand, Banner leaders are making every effort to preserve their inventory of medical-grade masks and personal protective equipment, or PPE, for critical frontline employees, emphasizing the need for comfort masks for other health care workers who interact with patients and the public.

All comfort masks are welcome, but they must be made from a material that can be laundered. Donated masks will be professionally laundered by Prestige Cleaners, which has generously donated its services, before being given to staff and patients. After receiving a clean mask, staff and patients will be advised to personally launder their masks daily.

Donations of comfort masks and other PPE can be dropped off at one of two Valley collection sites following Banner’s no-contact process:

DONATION INSTRUCTIONS: Place the masks in a separate box, bag or container in your car’s trunk labeled “homemade masks” with the quantity enclosed. (There’s no need to individually bag or package each mask.) Please place other supplies for donation in a separate container. Pull into the donation line at one of the two locations below and remain in your car with the windows up. Open your trunk and a volunteer wearing gloves and a mask will remove your items to be donated.

Project C.U.R.E in Tempe
2100 W. 14th St., Building T3, Tempe
DONATION HOURS: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Banner Olive Branch Senior Center in Sun City
11250 N. 107th Ave., Sun City
A table is set up outside to receive donations.
DONATION HOURS: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 to 11 a.m.
Call 623-465-6000 upon arrival and a gloved and masked volunteer will come out to remove your donated items from your trunk with no contact.

If you cannot drop off, you may mail/ship donated masks and other medical supplies to:
Project C.U.R.E for Banner Health
c/o Travis Gibson
2100 W. 14th St., Building T3
Tempe, AZ 85281

Please visit this page of the Banner Health Foundation’s website for a complete list of needed supplies and other ways to help, including donating money to support Banner’s response efforts and its employees, and donating blood to ensure supplies are adequate in the coming months.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.

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