Australia 'Whirlwind' demand for face masks and material in Broken Hill

00:17  06 august  2020
00:17  06 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Surgical face masks , the ones you typically see in public, help to catch some of these splashes and droplets of fluid. While masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected people to others, they are not recommended for healthy people for the prevention of infections like COVID-19.

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a person sitting at a desk in front of a window: Broken Hill local Michelle Broome has made more than 100 masks over the past week and a half. (ABC Broken Hill: Callum Marshall) © Provided by ABC Health Broken Hill local Michelle Broome has made more than 100 masks over the past week and a half. (ABC Broken Hill: Callum Marshall)

Craft stores and locals in outback Broken Hill in New South Wales have bought and sold hundreds of metres of fabric and elastic in the past several weeks as demand for face masks increases significantly.

Local Michelle Broome says she has made 135 masks in 10 days and has probably purchased about 150 metres of elastic and 40 metres of fabric from local stores.

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The surgeon general on Saturday warned that masks were not effective in preventing the general public from contracting the coronavirus.Credit Stephanie Keith for The New York Times.

N95 masks are tighter-fitting than surgical masks and protect against small particles and large droplets, according to the CDC. Panic-driven demand for face masks , Adalja said, is particularly worrisome because it could have “a negative supply shock” effect on hospital personnel who need

"I started making them for family and friends in Melbourne but now I'm getting calls from Northern New South Wales, Victoria and a lot of them are staying local in Broken Hill," she said.

"I started selling them at $10 a mask, I've jumped up to 12.

"So I guess that's about $1,300 in 10 days and I've got up to 300 orders at the moment."

Fabric frenzy

Susan McDonald, owner of Broken Hill craft store Ferry's Haberdashery and Gifts, said she had sold hundreds of metres of fabric in the past week.

She said the stores' sales had doubled over the past several weeks and their elastics had almost sold out.

"Every day there's been over $1,000 worth of fabrics and elastics sold, so that gives you some idea of the turnover," she said.

"Normally it would probably be about half to three quarters of that, so probably more than doubled our turnover in the past three weeks."

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But with demand for surgical masks also high, many members of the public are being forced to “There is a lot of potential for fabric masks and particularly masks which incorporate non-woven While face masks might bring a little discomfort, and make it harder to spot the facial expressions of

She said some customers had already made more than 100 masks for family and friends, as well as the local health service, aged care provider and for Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation.

"One of my customers said that she's already done 230 and she's had an order for another 150," she said.

"I've had other people come in saying that in their workplace now everybody has to wear masks and they've got over 100 staff, so they've had orders to make about 150-60 masks.

"It's just incredible the amount of fabric people have bought," she said.

Lyndal Graham said she had just experienced her busiest two-week period since starting her home-based quilting business, Stella Stitch, two years ago.

She said in the past week-and-a-half she sold up to 150 metres of elastic and about 40 metres of fabric.

"It's been a bit of a whirlwind," she said.

"I've not actually differentiated between COVID sales and quilting sales, but I would say it would probably be 50-50 and it would be an increase of probably about 200 per cent to what I was doing maybe a month ago."

More supplies coming in

Local pharmacist Jason Harvey said the city's Outback Pharmacies group of stores had sold about 1,500 face masks in the past few weeks.

He said the stores still had stock available but would have thousands of new masks arriving soon.

"The local health service have put in mandates wearing masks in the hospital and various other organisational bodies around town are starting to make their staff wear masks," he said.

"So you will see a lot of people around town wearing them if you're out and about."

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