Mildura Base Hospital seeks mask marvels

MILDURA Base Hospital (MBH) is calling on the local sewing community to help make face masks for visitors.

On Thursday, MBH announced all visitors would be required to wear masks.

MBH director of intensive care Dr Alison Walker said while the hospital was well supplied with masks and other personal protective equipment for staff use, supplying masks for visitors would be a significant drain on resources.

"We have around 350 people a day arriving at hospital reception and a large proportion of those are visiting patients," she said. 

"If they do have to wear a mask, then that will be a substantial number of masks.

"And that will be an extra demand at the same time that every other hospital and health service around the state will also be looking for more masks."

So the hospital is now asking the community to step in and help bolster the supply of masks. 

"It'd be great if there are some more people who have some time, some sewing skills and would like to help out the community," she said.

MBH already has an assortment of cloth masks on hand, made by a band of local volunteers, but will need more now they are compulsory.

Mandy Gowers and Helen Hullah, of Lesley May's Patchwork and Craft, made 130 cloth masks for MBH.

The pair were also among a group of local needle ninjas who leapt into action making scrubs for hospital staff earlier in the pandemic.

Visitors to the hospital are now limited to a two-hour period each day, with one nominated visitor per patient throughout their stay.

Under the Victorian Government pandemic orders, all people arriving for business or to visit patients at MBH are asked a series of questions and temperature-tested before they enter.

Dr Walker said many in the community had expressed a desire to help fight the pandemic -- and she suggested making masks would be a positive way to lend a hand.

"If we have some people in our community who are willing to take this on, that certainly will be much appreciated," she said.

"It will make a difference to the experience of both patients and people who are visiting them at a challenging time."

Anyone who wishes to get involved or to donate cloth masks should call MBH support services manager Todd George on 5022 3201.

Information on how to make a face mask is available on the DHHS website www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-masks-covid-19.