Local sewers move mask-making effort into high gear

Press release from Masks of Love:

ASHEVILLE – Dr. Carly Brown has organized Masks of Love WNC, an emergency effort to bring sewers and businesses together to tackle the dire shortage of face masks threatening Western North Carolina (WNC) medical workers and citizens caught up in the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to stand up for one another, and we have to fight for protection because if we don’t protect ourselves on the front lines, we can’t protect anyone else – and that is our job,” said Brown, a primary care doctor at Ashewell Medical Group, whose husband is an interventional radiologist.

Over the past week, Brown has organized a group of telecommuting volunteers to create a GoFundMe page to raise funds for this effort and a Masks of Love website to sign-up experienced sewers to make masks at home and to take orders from WNC medical practitioners.

“We’ll have three different kinds of masks with detailed instructions for sewers,” said Brown. “Two are for the community and will incorporate a piece of HEPA filter fabric, and one is a professionally sewn mask with a piece of HEPA filter fabric between the inner and outer layers, meant for health care workers and first responders on the front line of this pandemic.”

Designers have made biosecurity a top priority. At every step of production, a rigorous sterilization process will take place to protect the health and safety of all involved. French Broad Sewing and Upholstery has stepped up to manufacture the frontline masks, and Dutch Girl Laundry on Haywood Road will sanitize them. Flora Botanical Living, also on Haywood Road, will serve as a transfer hub for the operation. Our webpage will soon list all the other businesses helping.

Masks of Love WNC is grateful to Dogwood Health Trust for their partnership. Without hesitation, they jumped in with seed money to get this effort off the ground. Funds donated will go towards the purchase of materials and other essential needs to support this community effort.

Brown says the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend bandanas and scarves in lieu of lifesaving PPE. That prompted a call to action. “We hope our masks will provide more protection than that recommended by the CDC. We want to send a clear message to our healthcare workers that we support them, and that working together we can triumph over adversity,” said Brown.

Disclaimer: Masks of Love WNC provides non-certified facemasks to health care workers and members of the general public. Facemasks are provided without warranty or guarantee of their effectiveness for any purpose. Masks of Love WNC facemasks are intended for use on a voluntary basis and only as an alternative to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) certified PPE (personal protective equipment) as described in the Center for Disease Control Crisis Capacity Strategy, specifically its Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, when NIOSH certified PPE is not available. Children should be supervised by an adult at all times when wearing a facemask to ensure safety. By choosing to wear a Masks of Love WWC facemask, an individual acknowledges and assumes all risks, known and unknown, associated therewith.

Non-certified masks should not be considered PPE, since their capability to protect the wearer is unknown. Caution should be used when considering this option. (see https://cdc.goc/coronovirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/face-masks.html)

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One thought on “Local sewers move mask-making effort into high gear

  1. Lou

    Heard a shop in Asheville…A Stitch in Time…is selling masks for 10 bucks each. Seems a bit crass, don’t you think?

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