Many of us have been wondering how to help others while stuck at home and some traditional volunteer options are not feasible. You may have seen how-to videos or social media posts about home-made masks and requests from some health care facilities. Extension volunteer groups across the state are working to assist our heroic, front-line healthcare workers with the shortage protective masks.
Please know that these face masks are in no way meant to replace N-95 respirators and other PPE. We all recognize that fabric masks are no substitute! These masks are meant to be used in situations that will free up N-95 respirators and other masks for higher priority uses.
The CDC guidelines on homemade masks state the following:
“(Health Care Professionals) HCP use of homemade masks:
In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”
Angelina County has many talented and caring people that could put their skills to use! This could be a highly impactful project for 4-H clubs or other groups to serve our community within the guidelines of social distancing.
Here written instructions and pattern for making adult size face masks. A video demonstration is also available. We ask that you use prewashed 100% cotton fabric (with or without a layer of fusible interfacing). When possible, please use non-scented laundry detergent and no fabric softener when prewashing fabric. Receiving healthcare facilities will wash and and sterilize masks prior to use.
Distribution: We have identified several options for distributing finished product. Please use the following Google form when distributing completed masks https://forms.gle/UBp6LteJPRRyeQct9.
- We have been contacted by Dr. Tom Fisher, an oncologist with Texas Oncology, who is willing to accept ALL masks that we can produce. Dr. Fisher is offering cash awards to the 3 counties who send the most completed masks to Texas Oncology! First place – $1000; second place $500, and third place $250. Only masks shipped or delivered to Texas Oncology by 5 p.m. April 10 will be counted toward award eligibility.
- Check with your local health care facilities to see if they will accept homemade masks. This could include hospitals, clinics, cancer centers, medical offices, long term care facilities, etc. You may want to meet any local needs rather than participate in Dr. Fisher’s challenge.
- JoAnn Fabrics is serving as a drop off point for completed masks. You can drop off completed items at your local store.
- To best comply with social distancing, individuals should work independently to make items. There should be no in person meetings or ‘sewing sessions.’
- A system of collecting finished items that maintains recommended social distancing and disinfection protocols (for packaging, not items) will be needed. This could include having materials available for pickup in vestibules, on porches, or outside office doors. Disinfection protocols include washing hands or using hand sanitizer after picking up product, wearing gloves, etc.
- Some volunteers in high risk categories may need other volunteers to deliver materials for sewing and pick up finished items. Pick-up and delivery could be jobs for volunteers who do not sew and are not in COVID-19 high risk groups.
For more info about getting involved in Angelina County, contact email@example.com.