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Utah Woman Making Homemade Masks For Healthcare Workers

SANDY, Utah — A Utah woman decided to take matters into her own hands and help local healthcare workers by producing homemade masks as the nation faces a shortage of them amid the spread of COVID-19.

Stephanie Kinder, a certified nursing assistant, sat at her sewing machine Friday as she began crafting masks for her coworkers at a local home healthcare and hospice business.

“Since we can’t get surgical masks from medical supply companies, we’re making our own,” said Kinder, who acknowledged this was her first attempt at making masks for professional medical purposes.

Her previous experience entailed sewing costumes, dresses and quilts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed homemade masks as a potential option when no face masks are available.

“Caution should be exercised when considering this option,” the guidance reads. “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.”

Kinder said designs for homemade masks have been known to use materials like tea towels, cotton fabric, and even vacuum cleaner bags.

“We kind of weighed all our options and discovered that if we did a layer of cotton material and a layer of the tea towel, (that) would give us the best breathability and percentage closest to a surgical mask,” Kinder said.

She believed the masks would be effective enough in her specific line of work.

“We’re not in the trenches with the people coming in with the virus,” Kinder said. “We want to be able to protect ourselves against anybody that we take care of that might potentially be showing signs of it.”

Various online reports have detailed potential ways to craft masks. Kinder said she followed these instructions from the Deaconess Health System.

Health officials have previously said the U.S. needs roughly 300 million masks for healthcare workers as they battle the pandemic. President Donald Trump suggested millions of masks were in production Friday.

Those fighting on the front lines had lingering questions over when, where, and how many reinforcements might arrive.

“(I) never thought that I would see the day that I had to, like, make my own supplies for work,” Kinder shrugged.

She said she hoped what she was doing might be able to make a difference.

“We’re all in this together and got to pitch in and everyone can do what they can do,” Kinder said.

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