GVCC supports regional distribution of masks

WellHaven Pet Health, Sweet Spot Skirts have partnered to create masks for veterinary, medical hospitals

Dr. Bob Lester at Sweet Spot Skirts
Courtesy of John Bork. Dr. Bob Lester, director of veterinary medicine with WellHaven Pet Health, is shown here trying on the first prototype of the cloth medical-grade masks that are being made by Vancouver business Sweet Spot Skirts.

The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) recently shared the efforts of member-businesses, WellHaven Pet Health and Sweet Spot Skirts, in the creation of medical-grade masks for use in veterinary and medical hospitals around Southwest Washington and the Portland Metro area.

Sweet Spot Skirts, a Downtown Vancouver athletic clothing manufacturer, is creating medical-grade masks for purchase at a cost of $14, and caps at $19. The caps and masks will be donated to local metro-area veterinarians and medical hospitals. For each mask purchased, WellHaven Pet Health and Compassion-First Pet Hospitals will donate an additional mask to contribute to the wide-spread safety efforts of Southwest Washington and Portland Metro veterinarians and healthcare clinics.

Making of surgical masks
Courtesy of John Bork. WellHaven Pet Health and Sweet Spot Skirts anticipated having their first round of cloth medical-grade masks ready this week.

Due to the shortage of medical-grade caps and masks needed in human medicine for COVID-19 protection, all available tools are first offered to human medical clinics and hospitals, leaving veterinarians without the materials necessary to serve the community’s pet population. John Bork, CEO of WellHaven Pet Health, is working alongside Dr. Bob Lester, WellHaven’s Chief Medical Officer, to ensure the production and distribution of these caps and masks will benefit local clinics.

“As directives for our industry change during this time, we need to be at the forefront of preparedness,” Bork said. “The need for protective equipment is undeniable. Without veterinary medical attention animal lives are at risk. Veterinary medicine is considered an essential service during this pandemic. Pets are critical as Americans turn inward to home and hearth. The support, stability and unconditional love offered by our beloved pets is more important now than ever.”

Caps and masks purchased through chamber efforts will help support a long-time local business, Sweet Spot Skirts, and provide for essential protective equipment to be donated to surrounding veterinary hospitals and medical clinics in the Southwest Washington and Portland-Metro area.

A statement from Bork and Dr. Bob Lester, WellHaven director of veterinary medicine, said: “Given the current COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shortage of PPEs, veterinary practices like our WellHaven Pet Health practice are happy to donate our veterinary PPEs to our counterparts in human health. Human health care provider needs are critical at this time. This of course leaves an absence of PPEs in veterinary health. Veterinary state examining boards, veterinary associations, and practices like our WellHaven practice are advocating for relaxing veterinary PPE standards where medically sound in light of the PPE shortage. This provides veterinarians with the use of well-made cloth caps and masks in place of the typical disposable caps and masks. Veterinary services are an essential service during this COVID-19 outbreak.

Pets continue to require urgent care necessitating the use of PPEs in veterinary practice. In light of this need our WellHaven Pet Health practice supports the temporary use of well-made cloth caps and masks, thus sparing the traditional PPE supply for physicians, and allowing for pet care to continue at a time when the comfort, stability and unconditional love that our pets provide is even more important.”

Janet Kenefsky, GVCC vice president of membership & operations, said: “This is an incredible example of our business community supporting each other in a time of need. Southwest Washington is headquarters to growing veterinary companies whose core mission is to take care of the people and pets they serve and we are proud to spread the word about this donation opportunity. More information about how to become involved and how to donate, will be available on our website soon.”

Joanna Yorke-Payne
Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.

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