Volunteers sew masks for health workers facing shortages

03/25/2020 04:00 | NaN

Volunteers sew masks for health workers facing shortages

In a recent coronavirus update tweeted out by doctors there, the hospital chain announced a "new surgical mask policy" that would require its medical staff to wear masks at all times."Given what we have learned about COVID-19, this universal mask approach will serve to protect our patients and other staff members should the healthcare worker have asymptomatic infection", the memo says.

On Sunday, 3M sent to NY and Seattle over 500,000 N95s in response to the ongoing shortage of healthcare equipment.

To help hospitals in their communities who are suffering shortages, people are turning their hands to crafts and creativity and are making face masks from cloth and fabric.

With a dwindling supply of medical masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have suggested the use of homemade masks and limited reuse of facemasks as a last resort in their "Crisis Capacity Strategies" guidelines. Facebook stockpiled 720,000 masks for that reason, which it has now donated to hospitals. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. In response to the current shortage of medical supplies, they have shifted their focus and are now using their fabrics to make masks for COVID-19 healthcare workers.

Here are DIY tutorials for homemade masks that protect against COVID-19, whether you're wearing a mask yourself or donating to hospitals.

"If nurses quit or become too tired or even become ill themselves, then we don't have a front line anymore", said Wendy Byard of Lapeer, Michigan. "Even if the masks aren't approved to use at a hospital, I was thinking of giving them to elderly people to use when they go out to get groceries". Some doctors and nurses in the USA have had to resort to using bandanas or scarves - a measure the CDC advises as a last resort.

Vice President Mike Pence said that the legislation would allow Honeywell and 3M to sell masks.

A number of companies, including Apple, Salesforce, PG&E and Facebook have said they will or have already donated millions of N95 masks and other PPE, both in the USA and overseas.

It won't be an easy task, but as Bayersdorfer said, "The world is ready to act". The company also has special kits for customers who want to make masks at home. Executive Director Will Holman, who organized the effort, said he laid off 21 part-time employees last week because of the virus but has rehired some to assemble, sterilize and package the shields.

I have N95 masks. "It's super sad that we're at this point, but this is encouraging".

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