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UAMS now requires all people wear masks on campus, nurses plead for donations

If a typical employee works five days a week, they would need three to five cloth masks to have enough time to clean them.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — UAMS began implementing a universal masking policy Friday.

Everyone who steps foot on the UAMS campus is required to wear a cloth mask in clinical and non-clinical spaces, including visitors, patients, staff, and vendors.

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"That's what you'll wear unless you are providing care, you'll wear procedural or surgical masks,” said Dr. Rawle Seupaul, chief clinical officer.

Alyssa Kirkpatrick is a UAMS nurse working on the frontlines.

"We desperately, desperately need cloth masks,” said Kirkpatrick.  

While she's not in her unit, she and hundreds of other staff members will need a cloth mask, including going to and leaving the hospital.

"Not just me, but a bunch of nurses are collecting masks from family and friends who are donating them,” said Kirkpatrick.

But Dr. Seupaul said the need is far greater for staff.

"If a typical employee works five days a week and they are required to use a cloth mask, as an example, we would want them to have three to five masks, so that they have enough to clean the ones that are used and then have a clean one for the next days,” said Seupaul. “Multiply that by our many thousands of employees, you'll see we need thousands of masks."

Dr. Seupaul said the hospital implemented this because it is a crucial step moving forward as the hospital and state begin to expand services.

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"We've got to make sure the transmission of this virus is mitigated as much as possible, quite frankly, 100%. Keep people safe. A simple cloth mask can do that,” said Seupaul.

If you want to donate masks to UAMS, you can contact staff by visiting its website.