Virginia Community Steps Up to Make Homemade Masks for Hospital Workers

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The shortage of protective masks for Virginia’s health care workers is an ongoing concern. But there’s a new campaign underway to make sure every hospital employee has at least some measure of protection. 

Employees at Mary Washington Hospital and emergency room center are lining up to get masks homemade by community members.

So far, 1,700 have been made but there is a request for 5,000 more by the end of next week.

"If we  have 5,000 handmade masks, we could ensure that everyone of our Mary Washington healthcare associates had a mask. So that's what we started," said Eileen Dohmann the Mary Washington Healthcare chief nursing officer.

She said the shortage of personal protective equipment is a daily worry. Right now they only have a few weeks supply of N95 masks and gowns on hand.

Dohmann said the supplies they have now need to be preserved for the nurses, doctors and technicians caring for COVD-19 patients or those suspected of having the virus. 

"We are encouraging people to preserve PPE," Dohmann said. "And I’ll tell you in my career, I never imagined we’d be in a place like this."

That’s why they are asking for the homemade cloth masks.

If there is anyone in the building that tests positive for the coronavirus but doesn’t have symptoms, then wearing the mask helps them not spread the virus. 

"We are committed to finding every amount of PPE, scouring not just Virginia but the U.S. and  internationally," said Dr. Dan Carey, the Virginia secretary of Health and Human Services, in a press conference Friday.

Back at Mary Washington Healthcare, the homemade donated masks serve another purpose— they give weary healthcare workers a lift. 

"I just can’t express enough gratitude for the generosity and support of our community" said Dohmann.

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