The latest news from Indivisibles response to the Covid-19 crisis
For Immediate Release:
March 29, 2020
Contact: Sue Hedtke @ WrightCountyIndivisible@gmail.com
Local Volunteer Groups Step Up to Help Hospitals and Nursing Homes with Supplies
By Renee Cardarelle
(Monticello, MN)— Reacting to the news that healthcare professionals lack the equipment they need to protect themselves as they administer care, several local groups have stepped up in a coordinated effort to create face masks.
Sue Hedtke, Chair of Wright County Indivisible, is working with the Blue Cross/Allina’s statewide call for volunteers to create face masks. Sue and 40 volunteers, 34 who sew, donated supplies, located resources, identified myths from facts about how to make effective masks, reached out to friends and neighbors, provided pick up services for finished masks and of course sewed! Working together they contacted care facilities including CentraCare and Allina Health Services as well as 5 local nursing homes/assisted living facilities and in less than one week made more than 200 masks. At the time of writing this they already had requests for over 300 more. The group has also connected with other volunteer groups and individuals across Wright County and in St Cloud who were independently creating masks.
“When the virus first closed down our communities, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had no control over this disease, no way to help or make a difference. When I heard about the need for face masks, I just thought, even though I can’t sew, this is something I could do to help,” Sue stated. She started by reaching out to the 100 plus members of Wright County Indivisible and asking for sewing volunteers. The effort quickly spread through word of mouth and a social media outreach effort. Sue is amazed by the generosity of the people involved, “many of them have stepped outside their comfort zones to be a part of this group effort! I am impressed every day by how willing people are to help.”
If you would like to get involved you can find more information at WrightCountyIndivisible.org or email WrightCountyIndivisbile@gmail.com. The group is looking for supplies or donations to help purchase supplies and they are in desperate need of 1/8 to 1/4 inch elastic straps.
It is important to note that while the DIY masks are valuable and appreciated, not all masks are the same. In fact, even the masks the volunteers are creating, as much needed as they are, are not as effective as masks designed to prevent disease transmission. The most effective masks are called N95 or N99 and are in very short supply. Many healthcare providers who have these masks reuse them day after day. However, the masks that are being made for healthcare providers locally do help limit contamination and can be a good barrier when used with other preventative methods.
The general public can choose to wear these DYI masks as a barrier method that helps them avoid touching their mouth and will help prevent the spray of fluid when coughing or sneezing. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions, such as hand washing, to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases.”