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Coronavirus: Hundreds of Alberta quilters make scrub bags for health-care workers

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Hundreds of Alberta quilters come together to make scrub bags for health care workers
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It’s a concern for many health-care workers, especially those working directly with COVID-19 patients: how can they prevent bringing those germs home to their families?

A group of quilters in Alberta has a way to help them: scrub bags.

The Facebook group Scrub Bags for Alberta Healthcare workers has more than 1,000 members, who are all helping make these bags.

It all started when, Nancy Blezy from Claresholm, Alta., got a call from her daughter, who is a nurse.

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“My daughter called me on the way to work, and said, ‘Hey mom, I have a favour to request of you. Could you make me a cotton bag to carry my scrubs and hoodie at the end of my work day when I change?'” Blezy said.

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As a retired nurse, Blezy knows how important these bags are.

“You don’t want to go home and bring all the things to the people you love the most in life — so being able to transport and get rid that dirt and those germs safely is very important,” Blezy said.

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Blezy said her daughter was using plastic bags and throwing them away after each use. The drawstring “scrub bags” can be thrown in the washing machine with everything inside, to help prevent the spread of germs.

“I have not made a bag before this, but it’s a simple, basic thing to do,” Blezy said.

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Soon after, Blezy said other staff were requesting bags. She posted a pattern to Facebook, and soon, after the Facebook group Scrub Bags for Alberta Healthcare workers was put together.

This led to hundreds of bags being made across the province.

Liliana Wallace is the contact in Stony Plain, Alta. She said her phone rings all day for requests, and people wanting to drop off donations.

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“It just kind of sky rocketed,” Wallace said.

“They are taking care of us and we need to be taking care of them. This is something we can do to help them.”

Wallace even has a suggestion for a new name for the scrub bags. A salute to Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“My husband came up with the nickname for these bags. He’s calling them the ‘Hinshaw Bags,'” Wallace said.

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Laurette Keller from Wainwright, Alta., has also been spending a lot more quality time with her sewing machine. She put the call out to others from the town, and they quickly responded. In a matter of four days, there were more than 100 bag donations.

“Quilters are a generous bunch and we love to make things, especially when they are going to a good cause,” Keller said.

The group hopes to make a scrub bag for any health-care worker in the province who wants one.

Alberta Health Services does not accept donations on site. It has created an email, ahscovidoffer@ahs.ca, to be a single point of contact for people looking to give donations.

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