Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota have teamed up with the Allia Health system to make reusable medical masks for healthcare workers amidst the coronavirus.
The healthcare providers have put out a request for “skilled volunteers” to stitch the masks according to a CDC-approved pattern. Sew Good, a charity in Monticello MN that crafts and donates fabric products, and Treadle, a sewing supply store in St. Paul MN, have been recruited to provide materials to volunteers, who can work from home.
We’re proud to join @AllinaHealth to lead a statewide effort encouraging volunteers to sew and donate CDC-approved medical masks for hospitals and clinics in need. #covid19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/AEjDyfpGpz
— Blue Cross of MN (@BlueCrossMN) March 21, 2020
The masks are to be sewn from 100% cotton fabric, and should take a proficient craftsperson about 15 minutes to create. Once donated, the masks will be washed and reused multiple times. One yard of fabric is enough to make about 25 masks, according to Blue Cross MN.
Blue cross has promoted this instructional video demonstrating how the reusable masks are to be made:
Experts are skeptical about the efficacy of homespun reusable medical masks. Simple surgical masks and other masks designed only to provide a physical barrier between the wearer and the outside world do not fit tightly enough to block a virus, according to Live Science. Even more fitted and substantial N95 respirators, which are designed to remove 95% of particulate from the air, have not been shown 100% effective at preventing spread of the virus.
Despite this, stockpiling masks has still become widespread. As supplies dwindle and prices on secondary market skyrocket, the surgeon general has urged the public to stop buying masks, largely to no avail, reports the New York Times.
Minnesota suffered its first death resulting from COVID-19, according to US News. An 80-year-old man in Ramsey County passed away Thursday, after having contact with a relative who has recently traveled abroad.
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