Shuswap residents respond to health workers’ need for personal protective equipment

Shuswap residents respond to health workers’ need for personal protective equipment

Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice appeals to public for donations

While it may be a bit drab compared to her usual work, Keren Huyter has embraced the task of making white gowns for use by local health-care professionals.

Normally at this time of year, Huyter, of Salmon Arm’s Huyter House Sewing and Design, is focused on creating elaborate grad dresses and costumes for dance productions. However, with concerns around COVID-19, the need for such attire isn’t as pressing, or at least not as pressing as the request she recently received from friend Tracey Kirkman, executive director with the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice. Kirkman commissioned Huyter to create 30 medical gowns – personal protective equipment (PPE) – for local clinics.

“A doctor brought me one of the gowns that they wear and I built a pattern off it,” said Huyter. “They want a tight weave and something that’s going to launder well at high temperatures regularly.”

Huyter said the initial request for 30 gowns jumped to 100, but there currently isn’t enough material available in town to make them.

“I would need about 130 metres (of material) to do 70 more gowns,” said Huyter.

As the Observer was interviewing Huyter Wednesday morning, March 25, Kirkman was in Kelowna picking up a PPE donation. With increasing COVID-19 activity and related preparations by Canada’s medical system, there’s a shortage of such equipment. Subsequently, the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice has issued an appeal to the public desperately needed PPE including gowns, N95 respirators, masks, eye protection and alcohol-based hand rub.

“What we are doing is just trying to have a more co-ordinated approach and to make sure that the stuff lands where it’s needed, especially the PPE,” said Kirkman, noting the demand grows daily.

“The latest update from Interior Health… any frontline health workers having direct patient care in acute case settings and any clinical and long-term care settings… have to wear a surgical mask,” said Kirkman. “That was not the situation yesterday.”

“I think many people were taking that precaution anyway, especially the health care works, but that is going to exacerbate that demand because now every clinical worker has to have a mask,” she said.

As it happens, several Shuswap residents are already making masks on a volunteer basis to support the needs of healthcare workers.

Tracy Lemieux of Blind Bay said she got started after receiving a request from a relative who works at the hospital in Kamloops.

“Out of the blue she texts me and asks if I could make some… they really need them,” explained Lemieux. “She said they’re not for the virus… those ones are locked up. So they’re doing the regular care without masks.”

After mentioning the project on different Facebook pages, Lemieux said she’d recieved both assistance and material – except elastic.

“If there is a supply needed it would be elastic,” said Lemieux, who is grateful for the distraction of mask making. “This is good, this is making me feel happy; this whole thing stresses me out and I like to do things for the community.”

Read more: Salmon Arm retailers press plastic bags back into service

Read more: High demand for plexiglass as Salmon Arm businesses seek to protect public, staff

Salmon Arm resident Lynn Fletcher has also been producing masks. But she said she would like to see some co-ordination and direction of volunteer efforts so that she knows what’s being produced can and will be used. “It would be great if Interior Health or Shuswap General or whomever had somebody to co-ordinate a community response, so that if, for example the Shuswap hospital thought the highest and best use of our time for people with sewing machines would be to make a gown or whatever, they could mobilize the people in the community to make what they want,” said Fletcher.

Kirkman says the Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice is doing just that, and she asked that individuals seeking to help contact the organization at sno@divisionsbc.ca.

“The community spirit really comes to the forefront in times of crisis and this is no exception,” said Kirkman. “We have all these wonderful people who want to step up and help, and everybody wants to do something… everybody feels a calling to help and that is just wonderful to see.”

Kirkman said her priority focus right now is to provide PPE to clinics and physicians in the North-Okanagan Shuswap.

When she’s done her work supporting the frontline of health care, Huyter said there are grad dresses still be made.

“There’s no grad but the girls still want their dresses so they can do pictures later – but there’s no rush,” said Huyter.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusDoctors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Shuswap residents respond to health workers’ need for personal protective equipment

Just Posted

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Participants are encouraged to light a candle and watch the streamed event from home as speakers honor the lives of those lost to overdose from Gyro Bandshell in Penticton April 14, 2021. (Facebook photo)
Vigil for 5th anniversary of B.C. overdose crisis to be held in Penticton

To honor the lives lost to the overdose crisis and bring a call of action to policymakers

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The Town of Oliver’s Town Offices, which the town wants to get designated a heritage site. (Black Press)
Oliver council to weigh nixing alerts for water leaks

Staff say the policy has served its purpose in fixing the majority of leaks

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Bart and Tracey Larson enjoying a Begbie Cream Ale. The couple have been together for 40 years. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
The art of really good beer: Revelstoke brewery celebrates 25 years

Mt. Begbie Brewery owners Bart and Tracey Larson reflect on their company’s history

The Royal’s 1951 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

Most Read