Local Residents (rubber) Band Together To Make Protective Facial Masks

This article was published on: 04/2/20 11:25 AM by Mike Minarsky

The fight against Covid-19 has gone to an unlikely battlefront – the sewing room – both locally and on a national scale. A Facebook group called Griswold CT Masks for Heroes has galvanized sewing enthusiasts across the area to create protective face masks for healthcare workers, who have facing a nationwide shortage.

The Facebook group, organized by retired Courant Community reporter Janice Steinhagen, serves as a clearinghouse both for the sewists – channeling elastic and other needed supplies to them – and for healthcare professionals who are seeking the finished product.

“We’re trying to close the gaps in the supply chain,” said Steinhagen. “There’s a crying need, and there are plenty of people out there who can work to fill it. We’re using our skills to provide some protection for these heroic people working in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home care. They’re the valiant ones, we’re just trying to make sure they have the armor they need.”

The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to a shortage of the N95 masks typically worn by hospital and other health workers. The commercial masks are capable of filtering out microscopic particles the size of the virus, but because they are so scarce, many facilities are asking their staff to re-use these masks for days at a time.

The hand-sewn fabric masks, while unable to filter on such a fine level, still can provide a level of protection for wearers, especially those who work in nursing homes and home healthcare. Steinhagen says that providing reusable, washable fabric masks to these workers can allow the “gold standard” N95 masks to be channeled to those who work directly with Covid-19 patients.

“It’s definitely a stopgap measure,” she said, “but it helps bridge the gap in the supply chain. These people are risking their own health and that of their families in their work every day. I can’t do what they do, but if we can help them stay safe by using our own skills, we should. Who knows whether us or one of our loved ones is next?”

The Facebook group has a list of patterns and video tutorials for making masks, as well as a list of healthcare professionals and facilities asking for masks. Members share ideas, resources for materials, and outlets for donations to keep the supply chain moving.

Anyone interested in helping with this endeavor can join the page on Facebook. Steinhagen can be contacted by personal message through the page or at steinhagen7@aol.com.

***There is a video on SNSNONLINE.COM in the podcast section that gives additional information***

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