Tailors at government hospitals in T.N. come to the aid of healthcare workers, stitch cloth masks

Hospital authorities said disposable masks were available, but cloth ones could be used as an alternative

Many government hospitals have tailors to sew torn bedsheets or other hospital linen. In the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), some of these hospitals have given the tailors another task -- to stitch cloth masks for hospital personnel, both as a stop-gap measure and as an alternative to disposable masks.

Though a senior doctor said cloth masks did not provide protection and have to be washed frequently, a cross-section of doctors in some of the hospitals, including those not directly involved in COVID-19 management, said the cloth masks came as an alternative as the disposable ones could be used when needed the most.

“The hospital tailor, who usually stitches torn linen or patients’ gowns, is now stitching cloth masks for all of us. We have asked our staff to wear the masks, wash and reuse them. Almost all government hospitals have tailors, and we are utilising their services at this time. The number of masks made each day depends as per the demands, and are being used by many including doctors and nurses,” a senior doctor of a hospital said.

He added that disposable masks were available, and these cloth masks were an alternative for all at the hospital.

At another hospital, authorities said they had asked the hospital’s tailor to stitch cloth masks 15 days ago. “Usually, the tailor mends torn curtains and pillow covers. We have adequate stock of disposable masks and are using them judiciously. While we have provided the required masks and personal protective equipment for those directly involved in COVID-19 management, and medical and paramedical staff in outpatient departments, IMCU and TAEI wards, those working in other places of the hospital such as offices are using the cloth masks,” an authority said.

Tailors were roped in to supply the required cloth masks at another hospital too. “We started to get the cloth required and stitch masks after realising the gravity of the situation. All our personnel wear these cloth masks. So far, we have got around 500 masks, and get about 60 to 100 per day,” a senior doctor said.

Another senior doctor of a city hospital said cloth masks were not protective and need to be frequently washed. “Wearing masks gives a wrong sense of security. We have asked all our staff to wash their hands with soap and water once in two or three hours, avoid touching their faces and maintain physical distancing,” she said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:34:06 AM |

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