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National Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment Prompts Sierra View Medical Center to Begin Mask Making Initiative

Desperately short of crucial Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) nationally to shield front-line medical workers against the highly contagious COVID-19, Volunteer Coordinator of Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) is spearheading crafting efforts in making masks and calls on other community members to help.

Robin Cunha, SVMC Volunteer Coordinator called on community volunteers and others that are equipped with sewing machines and creative instinct to help in creating cloth face masks to donate to SVMC and other health care organizations.

“Most are using material to create masks, but since I worked in an Operating Room in the past, I came up with an idea to use the material used to cover sterile instruments in surgery,” Robin Cunha, SVMC Volunteer Coordinator said. “I made a prototype with the help of my co-worker Melissa Arend who helped capture step-by-step instructions; we have an out pour of support from our community who are already busy making fabric masks and we anticipate much more help.”

It’s crucial for hospital staff to have masks so that they can carry on their duties without fear for their own safety and that of their families, co-workers and other patients. Because there is a crisis-level scarcity of protective gear including paper surgical masks and the tight-fitting respirator masks known as N95 masks, SVMC is an advocate of this homemade mask movement.

In fact, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that fabric masks are a crisis response option as a part of their “Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks”.

“My main concern when tasked with this project was to help provide protection to the medical staff that need to treat patients everyday regardless of the ever-changing pandemic of this virus,” said Robin. “I’m proud to contribute to something where we can come together as a community and solve a problem that can potentially save people from getting very sick.”

If people of the community are interested in making a difference by producing masks and donating them to SVMC, it’s recommended to use the custom pattern, guidelines and instructions that can be found at sierra-view.com/facemasks . For questions and drop-off contact Sarah Brown at 559-791-3701.