Aspetto, a company we have previously reported on, has converted their manufacturing power to start producing face masks. The local business will then donate the masks to medical workers at Mary Washington Hospital. This medical facility, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, is one of the largest hospitals in the area. According to their website, the hospital has 551 beds and 3 emergency departments.
Aspetto project manager, Noel McPherson, expects to have the first 100 masks delivered this week. He encourages others to find ways to help in their community. Additionally, Noel suggests going online and finding charitable organizations who have posted requests, stating that we are all in this together.
Standard hospital practice is to store donations for 48-72 hours. However, most viruses and bacteria die before that window ends. Research shows that coronavirus can live on hard, shiny surfaces for up to 72 hours. Although, COVID-19 only lives 24 hours on porous surfaces like cloth or cardboard. This, combined with manufacturing time, and shipping, limits the potential of spread.
The company says they expect the staff working closest to the COVID-19 patients to still wear the hospital-issued N95 masks. They go on to say these masks are for anyone else in the hospital that may not have any protection due to the shortages of face masks.
Are all masks the same?
There are many levels of face masks, both rated and not rated. The letter and number refers to several factors such as: are they disposable or reusable? Furthermore, they are rated on the ability to filter out or block such things as: oil, fluids, and particles.
Manufacturer 3M also suggests considering other factors when choosing a mask. Some may filter out particles, but not stop a high pressure stream of fluids. This means hospitals must prioritize certain masks for those at highest risk for that particular type of contamination, like surgeons. In contrast, hospital workers who do not interact with sick patients may find other mask options suitable.
They go on to say you should use any mask with an N95 rating “Meets NIOSH 42 CFR 84 N95 requirements for a minimum 95% filtration efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil.”
Let us know if you have seen another examples of charity in your area by leaving a comment below.