Nurses Making Homemade Masks To Help With Protective Gear Shortage

A team of nurses are hoping to off set mask shortage by creating non medical grade masks for medical professionals who are not directly on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Inside Arielle Heron’s Southington home, is a dinning room table covered with swatches of cloth. Patterns include puppies, tie dye and other colorful patterns. At the head of the table is a sewing machine. While it has all the appearance of craft project it is something of much greater importance.

As medical professionals search for more protective supplies, Heron and a team of Connecticut nurses are trying to help. They are making homemade face masks from their own homes.

“Personally, in my heart of hearts, I feel like this could get to a point where pretty much everyone might need a mask at some point,” said Heron.  

The masks they’re making are not medical grade. Heron, who works in a Manchester OBGYN practice says these are for her colleagues. The goal is to provide these to medical profesionals who are not on the front lines so medical grade masks can be reserved for those who are.

“That’s people in our hospitals in our emergency rooms and ICU units,” explained Heron. “In the units where patients may have this.”

The masks they are making are tightly woven flannel, double folded. While not medical grade, these nurses say they’re better than some alternatives.

“The CDC sent out recommendations to health care providers that we should use bandannas and scarves, so these are better than that,” said fellow nurse, Sarah Thayer.

These nurses are encouraging others to make their own too and have posted a how-to video to You-Tube. It includes instructions on what fabrics to use, measurement and a sewing guide.

This team has created dozens of masks already and say their team is working thru the weekend to provide more.

“They’re all busy at their sewing machines right now,” said Thayer. “I think we’re hoping to have 100 by Monday but I suspect they’ll be a lot more than that.”

These nurses say they aim to supply their colleagues in Manchester first. They are hopeful, though,  hospitals around the state will eventually have drop boxes where people can donate supplies like this in the future.

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