Home Local News Stepping up: Volunteers stitch together surgical masks

Stepping up: Volunteers stitch together surgical masks

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During their self-quarantine, News-Sun reporter Dorothy Fowler, along with family and friends, are part of many community members answering Nor-Lea Hospital’s call for help amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

“I saw that they were asking for people to volunteer to make masks for the hospital,” Fowler said. “I felt like everybody needs to step up and do what they can to help right now so I am doing what I can.”

Monday, Nor-Lea Hospital posted a YouTube video of hospital CEO David Shaw asking for help from the public with providing a need for personal protective equipment.

“Unfortunately due to challenges in the supply chain we are facing dramatic shortages in some areas, so we are looking to the public to help in any way they can,” Shaw stated in the video. “We are in short supply of patient masks or surgical masks.”

Shaw said the hospital goes through approximately 200 masks per day and was down to about a 10-day supply.

“However, we can cut up surgical drapes and sew them into these masks,” Shaw explained in the video. “And we have enough surgical drapes on hand to make about 4,800 masks.” Fowler was one of more than 90 volunteers who answered the call for help.

“We got enough surgical drape to make about 100 masks,” Fowler said. “I can’t make all 100 by myself, but my daughter and my neighbor will be helping me out.”

The masks are made by cutting the fabric into eight-inch squares, stitching it together, putting a pipe cleaner through to fit over the bridge of the nose, and stringing elastic through the sides to go around the ears.

“We need either 1/8 inch elastic or one-quarter inch elastic,” Fowler said. “If people have any in their stashes it would help to donate that.”

Fowler is asking anyone with any appropriate elastic to contact her at 903-421-2952 in order to drop that off so she can continue to sew these crucial pieces of personal protection equipment.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, these masks can decrease transmission of influenza viruses, like COVID-19 in healthcare settings. If you would like to help Nor-Lea Hospital in the fight by volunteering to sew masks, please call the hospital at 575-396-6611 ext. 1409 and ask for Jessica Tarin who is coordinating all volunteers.

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