The hand sanitizer can be found outside of local businesses so that locals can ensure that their hands are clean before entering a work place. (Jeff Dolinsky)

Rotary producing hand sanitizer for local businesses

Rotarians Rebecca Kolbenson and Jeff Dolinsky have headed up the new Infection Control Committee

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread across the globe, shortages in essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer have become a serious issue for infection control. The Rotary Club of Golden and the newly formed Infection Control Committee are stepping in to help protect locals.

Co-chaired by Rotarians Dr. Rebecca Kolbenson and Dr. Jeff Dolinsky along with Dr. Nick Tan, Dr. Jessica Chiles, and Ph.D. chemist Phil Carson, the infection committee works with Rotary Golden to produce hand sanitizer for local businesses.

“Rebecca and I started the committee because we were very concerned about the lack of acceptable infection control standards that we started within town,” said Dolinsky.

“If people don’t have hand sanitizer on the way in the door in these businesses, then there’s no infection control so we decided to get it going.”

READ MORE: B.C. Rotary exchange students told to ‘shelter ein place’ through COVID-19

Dolinsky said that so far, businesses are being proactive about preventing infection through many measures.

The committee identified the availability of hand sanitizer as a major gap in infection control. Using a recipe that was developed by the World Health Organization and the FDA, they’ve been creating the sanitizer that they have now distributed to almost 50 businesses across Golden, according to Dolinsky.

The main ingredient in the hand sanitizer comes from a distillery in Invermere called Taynton Bay Spirits, which has been producing ethanol at 86 per cent alcohol for homemade hand sanitizer.

“Businesses would otherwise have to close if they didn’t have something like this to help them with infection control,” said Dolinsky.

“Grocery stores are mandated to do this. Hopefully, the supply chain will come back, we don’t want to do this any longer than we need to.”

READ MORE: Rotary Interact Club of Golden installs mini libraries

Rotary is footing the cost for the production of the sanitizer, which includes glycerin and hydrogen peroxide that they source locally from the pharmacy.

Dolinsky explained that despite the shortage of sanitizer, he’s proud of the way the community has responded throughout the crisis.

“By and large everyone has responded incredibly well, which I think is important to say,” said Dolinsky.

“We’re very proud of how everyone has adapted to physical distancing and washing their hands.”

Dolinsky said that they have received two shipments of the ethanol from Invermere and will look into getting more if need be.

Those looking to get involved can do so by reaching out to the Rotary Club of Golden.

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