First respirator masks leave Detmold production lines

The first South Australian-made D95+ respirator masks manufactured by the Detmold Group are being fit-tested to local health workers in preparing the state for any second wave of COVID-19.

The company has delivered an initial 2,700 masks to metropolitan hospitals, with country hospitals due to receive their first lot of masks later this month.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said access to domestically produced respirator masks was a key part of the state government’s commitment to protecting our healthcare workers and the community against COVID-19.

“Ensuring South Australians have a local supply of PPE is part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s strong plan to protect the community and our heroic frontline staff from the potential spread of the disease,” Wade said.

“In just a few weeks, we have seen these high-quality, locally-made masks start production, pass stringent manufacturer testing and have started to be delivered to our hospitals.

“The masks offer life-saving protection for our nurses and doctors who are on the frontline of our fight against COVID-19, and I’m very pleased that Detmold has collaborated with us to significantly increase our supply.”

Respirator masks must be fitted to each individual to ensure it is sealed to the skin.

An incorrectly fitted mask may allow air to flow underneath the seal, reducing level of protection, so fit testing is an important step in keeping health care workers protected and safe.

Staff are trained in how to put on and remove the mask safely and perform a “fit check” each time the respirator is worn.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) Clinical Program Delivery Manager, David Naughton, said that South Australia is the only state that has a mandatory requirement for healthcare workers to be fit tested for respirator masks.

“A correct fitting mask is vital in ensuring our doctors and nurses are protected, so mandatory fit-testing means we significantly reduce the risk of accidental exposure to infectious diseases like coronavirus,” Naughton said.

“CALHN is committed to ensuring our staff has access to all the equipment they need, and this is especially true during the pandemic.

“When COVID-19 first reached South Australia, our fit testing team geared up from a very small team to a full seven days a week operation, with 3,000 staff across our site refitted to keep them safe.”

Detmold is employing up to 160 extra staff to roll out the PPE from its Brompton manufacturing plant.