Locals ramp up mask sewing for coronavirus battle

By Shelby Stewarat
Staff Writer
Nationally, there is a shortage of a lot of medical supplies due to COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, including masks. Local residents are doing everything they can to help out.
“So, my sister works as an EMT and contacted my mom and I last week,” said Sarah Allen, Brandon Township resident and Brandon school board member. “She noticed there was a shortage and asked if we would sew some. I’m not a seamstress at all but I can do some basic sewing.”
Currently, the only mask that is effective against COVID-19 is an N95 respirator. The N95 has an air filter which removes 95 percent of very small particles, and it seals tightly around the mouth and nose. Other masks, such as surgical masks, only protect against droplets, but not airborne viruses.
“What I’m told is that they’re so short on N95 masks, so they wear the fabric ones over them to get longer use out of them,” said Allen. “I’ve sent some to nursing homes because something is better than nothing. It’s a lot of medical workers just advocating for themselves to be as safe as possible.”
Likewise, Atlas Township resident Janet Nord started making masks because her daughter, who is a nurse at Genesys Hospital, told her that they needed them.
“She knew I liked to sew,” said Nord. “I had seen another hospital put out a pattern online and I started sewing. I’ve made close to 100.”
The masks that both Allen and Nord are making are going to hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and local residents and children who need to still go to medical appointments.
“Some protection is better than none,” said Nord. “Whatever will help get rid of this.”
Anyone looking to contact Nord for masks can reach out via Facebook, or call her at 810-814-2690.
Allen has also teamed up with other local residents to coordinate and get supplies out as fast as they can. She and resident Tiffany Vela have been working to make different kinds of masks, as Vela is able to make some with pockets for a filter, and Courtney McClerren has been organizing orders and product collection.
“We’re not taking money for it, I don’t want to be paid for it,” said Allen. “We’re just helping out how we can.”
Anyone looking to donate supplies or ¼ inch elastic to Allen and Vela, or those looking for masks, can contact Courtney McClerren via Facebook.

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