It's too early for Movember, but not for MOVID. There's more than a few mo's, 'taches and lip foliage appearing around the wards of the Canberra Hospital, which is as much about safety as a little levity during a heavy situation.
Canberra Health Services deputy chief executive Dave Peffer, himself sporting a moustache worthy of Tom Selleck, said the mo's were a side affect of the COVID-19 pandemic; hence "MOVID".
"Had you walked around the hospital a few months ago, you would have seen a range of facial hair situations. Obviously, now with the shift in focus to what's an incredibly infectious disease, safety becomes an absolutely priority," Mr Peffer said.
"A key part in that is ensuring we have PPE (personal protective equipment), it does it's job, it protects our frontline workers.
"And what that means, in forming an appropriate seal from these face masks that we're using to protect from the COVID droplets, you do need an uninterrupted seal around your face.
"And if you imagine, you have a beard that comes down the side of your face, it breaks that seal and permits those droplets potentially to enter inside the mask, putting the wearer at risk."
That means a shave for anyone who had a beard, but still some room for a bit of face fashion.
"At this point in time as you walk around, you'll see there's a lot more moustaches than you would usually observe and the basis for that is really keeping our frontline workers safe," he said.
Mr Peffer said it was a bit of fun in an often stressful situation.
"It's an interesting situation you find a workforce in, where a month ago, there was high levels of anxiety matched with high levels of adrenaline anticipating what was about to hit the health system," he said.
"And we sort of find ourselves in a time now where the adrenaline has started to waver, but the anxiety is still there, about 'Will this still happen?' and 'When?'. So it is a bit of lighthearted humour as well as that critical safety."
Movember, by the way, happens in November when men grow a moustache to raise funds for men's health.
Movember Australia is still keeping the mo army connected, with virtual events via its Facebook page.
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