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Sewers make homemade masks for hospitals in lieu of national shortage

Posted at 1:20 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 06:16:53-04

BALTIMORE — As the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in Maryland, healthcare providers are working endlessly to help those who are sick or those who think they're sick.

The biggest issue they're facing right now is lack of supplies like coronavirus tests and masks.

Now, sewers all over are making homemade masks for people in hospitals since there's a national shortage.

"I was like this is the moment of ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. That was my moment! I was like I’m a sewer! Yes, I can do this! And I just started sewing. I’ve made probably about 3 dozens masks so far," said Jillian Collins, a Harford County mom and a Baltimore County teacher.

She said, "I’m not a medical professional so I don’t have to risk my life in that capacity. I’m not army. I’m not anything in the military where I’m risking my life for my country. I feel like behind my sewing machine I’m doing the good that I can do to keep people safe during this time."

The CDC states the respirator N-95 masks are needed for protection. However, since there is a shortage homemade masks can be used as a last resort. Right now, they stated they don't know how well the homemade masks will protect you from Covid-19. The CDC recommends wearing these homemade masks along with a face shield.

Earlier in the week, WMAR-2 News did a story on how Open Works Baltimore is making 3-D printed face shield masks for hospitals and EMS workers.

Hospitals in Baltimore are grateful for the community support.

A spokesperson for Johns Hopkins said they have set up a process to do intake for donations, a team to inspect the donations and then decide where they are best suited.

GBMC Healthcare said they've already received donations and appreciate more. To coordinate drop off with them, just call 43-849-6219 or click here.

"Even if I just help one person stay safe during this time, it will be well worth it to me," said Collins.

She said the masks are easy to make with two pieces of 9x7 cloth and elastic bands. She added, "the last piece is stitching around the edges and making those three little pleats that make it really fit right to your face."

These materials were all things she had in her home from previous projects over the years. JoAnn Fabrics announced they are giving away fabric to people who are making these homemade masks and distributing them curbside. They also released a "how-to" video.

Collins recruited her sister in Oregon and her mom in New York to do the same for their hospitals. She said about a dozen other family members and friends who sew joined in too. She's hoping others will pitch in as well.

"I’m hoping other people find the goodness in them to do the same exact thing because times of pandemic and fear bring out best and worst in people and our country is made up some of the best of people," said Collins.

Collins is giving the masks she makes to her neighbor who's a local nurse.