July 5, 2020

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home : local news : local news

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Hospital collecting homemade masks

By Bill Richardson

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lawrence Countians who want to pitch in to fight the coronavirus pandemic can do so by making facemasks, which are being collected at Lawrence County Memorial Hospital.

The masks would then be used by hospital teammates, as they work at the facility.

Jessica Brink, Materials Manager at the hospital, said a certain number of masks are kept on hand should an emergency - such as this one - arise. However, the supply isn't large enough to last as long as world health officials think the coronavirus might.

"I'm comfortable with the supplies we have now, but every day I'm trying to get as many more as I can," said Brink, who noted that there is especially a shortage of what is known as "n95" masks.

Volunteers are asked to make masks out of 100 percent cotton material. If elastic for the strings isn't available, Brink said that "bias tape" could be purchased at local retail stores and is just as effective.

Sewing the masks, she said, "isn't that difficult."

"There are a ton of different patterns online," she said. "You can easily find them on Youtube. And our partner, Deaconess Hospital, has a video on the Evansville Courier website, showing people how to make them."

As of March 25, Brink said, between 150 and 200 masks had already been provided. Those who supply masks can bring them to the hospital and drop them off in a bin near the flagpole.

"There's a sign there, saying it's for donated masks," she said. "You don't even have to get out of your car."

Once the masks are gathered, they will be put through the hospital's sterilizer. They will then remain packaged until they're needed.

The effort stems from a meeting at the hospital on March 20. Brink says she made one telephone call, and the movement immediately became full-speed ahead.

"It just went from there," she said. "One telephone call branched into a whole tree in our community."


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