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Masks Needed for Hospitals.

on
April 8, 2020

Submitted by: Bonnie Girton
Feature photo: Megan Foster, Surgical Assistant, Franciscan Alliance 

“When bad things happen, look for the helpers” Fred Rogers

Megan Foster is a Surgical Assistant who saw an opportunity to secure a medical grade fabric known as H600, proven in studies to filter the highest level of virus microbes, and she put it to work to protect hospital workers in infectious settings. In a fascinating tale of Duneland region connectedness, Megan floated the idea to her Michigan City hospital and was able to get an industrial size supply of H600. At first volunteers were measuring and cutting the fabric at home. Then along came Dan Molchan at Fairway Laser, of Valparaiso, who uniformly cuts several thousand kits at one time. The mask requires a pliable wire to conform to the bridge of the wearer as a seal. So then along came Urschel Labs, of Chesterton, to cut thousands of yards of thin copper wire into individual lengths.

Through these efforts, as of this writing, six thousand masks have been home sewn. The goal is to make eighty thousand masks in a short time to carry the region over the peak of the infection curve. Megan says, “We are aiming to produce enough masks to return to the standard of care of ‘one patient, one mask’.  This means masks would not have to be reused from patient to patient, therefore dramatically reducing the spread of the virus between the health provider and the patient.

Many community heroes are sewing masks at home from H600 and other materials. If you would like to help with this effort, visit the following: Join the facebook group here or head to nwimasks.com.

H600 material is now provided by several area hospitals.  Material is cut by the thousands by Fairway Laser Systems, Inc, and copper wire inserts are cut and provided by Urschel Laboratories, Inc.  Masks are sewn by several hundred community volunteers.

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