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San Juan Regional Medical Center issues plea for donations of surgical caps

Hospital says more than 2,000 masks have been provided

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — After drawing a sizable response to their plea to have local residents donate face masks, officials at San Juan Regional Medical Center are now seeking additional protective equipment for staff members.

The hospital issued a request on April 13 for donations of surgical caps for staff members who are treating COVID-19 patients. Spokeswoman Laura Werbner said the virus can survive in the hair of caregivers, and the caps are needed to help prevent its spread.

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An earlier request by the hospital for masks was a great success, Werbner said, adding that many people donated FDA-approved N95 masks, while others sewed homemade cloth masks and donated them. As of April 14, more than 2,000 such masks had been received by the hospital to go along with hundreds of surgical caps and three dozen "ear savers," devices that ease the pain of wearing a mask with elastic straps for a prolonged period of time.

A group of people from Durango, Colo., recently made and delivered 360 surgical caps and bouffants to San Juan Regional Medical Center.

"People have been amazing with the things they've been making," Werbner said.

The hospital has identified the surgical caps as an additional need and said anyone interested in crafting homemade cloth caps can find a pattern at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1n1DvSpbD-rS__s4vTDAtHfl860aCWY0R/view. An online tutorial that offers instruction on how to sew the caps can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wl15xirkaw.

Hospital officials are asking the that caps be made of 100 percent cotton or cotton blend. Donations can be taken to the hospital's main entrance between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

In a statement released by the hospital, president and CEO Jeff Bourgeois noted there has been a long tradition of mutual support between the community and his facility, and he thanked donors for responding to the hospital's plea for help during the COVID-19 crisis.

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"I thank our community for the kind gestures we're seeing now, from donations of (personal protective equipment) to providing food to frontline staff, sewing caps and masks and even creating face shields," he stated. "It means so much to us and we are grateful."

San Juan Regional Hospital managers have identified the surgical caps as an additional need, and said anyone interested in crafting homemade cloth caps can find a pattern at https://bit.ly/2Vy5Hbc.

Anyone wishing to make a financial donation to the hospital for protective equipment can do so securely online by visiting https://www.sanjuanmedicalfoundation.com/donate. Those donations should be designated with a "SJRMC COVID-19 supplies" tag, according to the hospital.

Werbner said the hospital continues to see a need for personal protective equipment of all kinds, and she encouraged local residents to keep the facility in mind as the pandemic continues.

"We're always going to have a greater need for the masks," she said. " … But we're happy to take whatever we can get at this point."

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Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com.