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Tucson organizations sew medical masks for local heroes

Helping with shortage across country
Posted: 5:44 AM, Mar 25, 2020
Updated: 2020-04-02 15:19:14-04
Gaslight Costume Shoppe sews medical masks

TUCSON, Ariz. — With their sewing machines hard at work, costume designers at the Gaslight Costume Shoppe are working hard to create masks. But these aren't part of a performance.

The head costume designer, Renee Cloutier, got the idea to sew medical masks because her daughters work in the medical field, and with the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a shortage on supplies.

“My daughter's a nurse at St. Josephs, so I was talking to her a couple weeks ago about the need for mask and mask coverage," Cloutier said.

She has been working with the University of Arizona Costume Department and Cigna Health to sew different types of masks.

There are two main ones Cloutier said they're making.

First, there is the surgical mask people can wear for everyday use, whether that means sitting in a waiting room or just walking around a grocery store.

Then, they're making mask covers for N95 masks. The CDC reports a N95 mask filters out about 95 percent of airborne particles, meaning it's the best protection for medical staff working with patients.

“It’s this cover that would go over there head and cover this mask that would give them the ability to take it off a wash it and still use this one mask and not have it be contaminated at all," Cloutier said.

The CDC reports homemade masks are not considered personal protection equipment, since their capability to protect is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option.

However, if you do use one, the CDC recommends 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.

Renee's mask covers work with N95 mask, and help prolong their usage.

“My daughter has four young children at home. The last thing I want is for her to go to work and bring it home," Cloutier said.

Cloutier and her team will be working to make masks until the need is met.

If you'd like to donate supplies, she said they're in need of fabric and elastic. You can reach out here or visit them at 7004 E Broadway Blvd Tucson, Arizona.

INSTRUCTIONS ON MASK MAKING:

To make masks safe and effective, follow these guidelines:

Follow pattern in these links:

  • Craft Passion: Face Mask Sewing Pattern
  • The Stitching Scientist
  • The outer portion should be heaver, non-stretch fabric, example: denim, duck cloth, canvas, twill, or other tight woven fabric.
  • The inner portion should be cotton, cotton-blend non-stretch fabric. It can be thin and soft.
  • Recommend to put in hot water before sewing to prevent future shrinkage.
  • Worn or dirty fabric will not be protective.
  • 1/16 inch round cord or 1/8 inch braided of elastic works best, can be replaced with hair ties if needed. Four is recommended.

For a full video on further instruction: JOANN'S FACE MASK TUTORIAL VIDEO.

CDC regulations on homemade masks state:

In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP (health care professional) 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.

MEDICAL CARE CENTERS IN NEED OF MASKS:

  1. Banner UMC
  2. Carondelet Health Network
  3. All Valley Home Heath Care & Nursing
  4. Life Care Center Sierra Vista
  5. NSI Nursing Services
  6. San Xavier health clinic
  7. Sells Indian Hospital
  8. That’s The Spot Chiropractic
  9. Pima Heart & Vascular
  10. Catalina Village Assisted Living

This list is ongoing, if you're in need of masks reach out to veronika.vernachio@kgun9.com to be added to the list.

Joann has also started a mask making project for anyone who is making them or needs them. Learn more here.