Sue Souza models one of the masks she has made. Courtesy photo
Pamela Hundley hard at work making face masks for use by healthcare workers. Courtesy photo
Masks for healthcare workers, first responders and others are being sewn by multiple groups throughout Northern New Mexico. Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Throughout the country people are putting their sewing machines to work making masks in response to the shortage of personal protective equipment, particularly for health care workers, and Northern New Mexico is no exception.
The cloth masks are designed to fit over N95 masks which prolongs their use. If a cloth mask is placed over the N95 masks, it can sometimes be worn for several days rather than just one time.
Local resident Diane Hammon said the catalyst for her to bring up the extreme need for face masks was the concern raised up by her daughter, Rebecca, who is a head and neck oncology surgeon.
Hammon is urging anyone in New Mexico who has N95 masks or other masks that are unopened to their healthcare providers.
She is seeking someone who is “extremely coordinated” to step up in the community to organize the overall project.
Hammon and more than 40 other volunteers throughout the community are attempting to keep up with the requests for masks from local medical providers in private practices but the need is great and there are many components involved in acquiring the supplies, washing the fabric, cutting out the masks, sewing them, and distributing them. All of this has to be accomplished in accordance with the current social distancing guideline in order to keep everyone involved safe.
The volunteers who are doing the sewing are working in their individual homes. Before masks are delivered they are steam ironed and delivered. A coordinator, Hammon said, would put all the elements of the project together such as arranging drop off points, maintaining the supplies list, and keeping track of requests for masks.
Items needed for the masks are:
- 100% cotton fabric, not used
- 1-gallon zip-lock bags
- nitrile gloves for pick-up and delivery of supplies and masks
- ¼ inch or 1/8 inch flat elastic
Anyone interested in coordinating or forming a team of 2-3 members to serve as coordinators for the project can contact Hammon at email@example.com.