- Title: Amid shortages, home sewers and volunteers scramble to make masks
- Date: 24th March 2020
- Summary: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) SEWING MACHINE SMITA PAUL WATCHING AS SHE SEWS MASK MATERIALS ON TABLE SMITA PAUL SITTING IN FRONT OF SEWING MACHINE MASKS IN HAND SMITA PAUL TALKING WITH COLLEAGUE (SOUNDBITE) (English) SMITA PAUL, FOUNDER OF INDIGO HANDLOOM, SAYING: "I think that everybody is horrified. And this is a small thing that we can do. And I think everybody feels the same way I do. Let's do it." VARIOUS OF MASK CUTOUTS ON TABLE BOX OF FACE MASKS VARIOUS OF WORKER SILVIA ALECIO CUTTING FABRIC FOR MASKS (SOUNDBITE) (English) SMITA PAUL, FOUNDER OF INDIGO HANDLOOM, SAYING: "And so I looked up an N95 pattern on the internet and I went to the NIH website to see what they recommend. And it's basically like a heavyweight t-shirt material that they're recommending. And I happened to have that. So it's like I was always collecting materials throughout my career. A lot of it was just sitting around and this fabric just happened to be the perfect fabric." VARIOUS OF SMITA PAUL MARKING ELASTIC TO CUT VARIOUS OF TWIST TIES USED AROUND NOSE IN MASK (SOUNDBITE) (English) SMITA PAUL, FOUNDER OF INDIGO HANDLOOM, SAYING: "You know there's so much to be scared of and there's so much fear out there, it actually helps me to make masks and channel that into something positive. I went to bed, I felt better that at least the people I've communicating with me, doctors and nurses and EMT people are going to have some protection." VARIOUS OF FABRIC ON SHELF VARIOUS TAGS FOR INDIGO HANDLOOM (SOUNDBITE) (English) SMITA PAUL, FOUNDER OF INDIGO HANDLOOM, SAYING: "It's kind of heartening. All these people out there - they don't know me and they're working for free. We're all volunteering, and it just shows what a group of determined citizens, concerned citizens can do. We'll probably get 100 masks out today, which is incredible. When we started, I was like 'How can I only make six masks a day?' But we're getting faster and we're getting more consistent and we're getting more people to help us. And we need more people to help us. In fact, I think all communities should get more organized and try to help their local hospital." VARIOUS OF SMITA PAUL IRONING MASKS MASKS ON IRONING BOARD VARIOUS OF SMITA PAUL PUTTING MASKS IN BAGS ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 24, 2020) (REUTERS) CRAIG ENIS, REGISTERED NURSE WHO WORKS AT GENERATIONS HEALTHCARE IN WALNUT CREEK, WALKING DOWN SIDEWALK (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAIG ENIS, REGISTERED NURSE WHO WORKS AT GENERATIONS HEALTHCARE IN WALNUT CREEK, SAYING: "We are running low on surgical masks. We are running low on gowns, which we have for isolation rooms. We're running low on hand sanitizer and N95 masks are just non-existent right now." VARIOUS OF ENIS DURING INTERVIEW T-SHIRT OF ENIS (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRAIG ENIS, REGISTERED NURSE WHO WORKS AT GENERATIONS HEALTHCARE IN WALNUT CREEK, SAYING: "Yeah it's incredibly scary because I'm a single father and they have no choice but to be with me, so whatever I come home with they're exposed to. And right now when them being home all day long when I'm home all day long, I'm with them all day and we kind of have it, if we get it, we're already isolated, but they're very vulnerable to getting sick right now." OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF KAISER PERMANENTE FACILITY PARK NEARBY MORE VARIOUS OF KAISER PERMANENTE FACILITY VARIOUS OF SUTTER HEALTH FACILITY SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) VAN ON STREET IN SAN FRANCISCO SIGN THAT READS "DONATE YOUR EXTRA MASK" VARIOUS SUPPLIES IN VAN ANNE COCQUYT PUTTING SUPPLIES IN VAN SUPPLIES IN VAN ANNE COCQUYT IN INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANNE COCQUYT, SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT, SAYING: "We use this van usually to go kitesurfing in the Bay Area, but I've been feeling pretty helpless in this whole situation. Then a friend of mine called and said Kaiser really needs masks. Oh there are some masks right here. Thank you so much, sir. So Kaiser needs masks, apparently. It's because out of all the hospitals in the Bay Area, they're really at a point where the nurses are cutting up plastic bottles as face shields and that's when we said okay, we need to do something right now. Yes this is a drop in the bucket but at the same time this might be one day's worth of supplies for the nurses in the ER. And we thought that might be better than nothing." MASKS IN VAN MAN DROPPING OFF MASKS SUPPLIES IN VAN (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEMANG KAPASI, SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENT, SAYING: "There are a couple of friends, especially who are both ER docs, both husband and wife, and they basically messaged to us that they're using the same masks for many days, and I'm just a little blown away because that shouldn't be happening, not in our country, right?"
- Keywords: coronavirus covid-19 health health emergency home sewers mask makers masks pandemic
- Reuters ID: LVA001C6EXGLJ
- Location: OAKLAND + ALAMEDA + SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: OAKLAND + ALAMEDA + SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:06:56
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text:Smita Paul has been sewing scarves and clothing for her small fashion business since 2003 but ever since the coronavirus struck the Bay Area and created a shortage in personal protective equipment for hospital workers, she has switched from sewing scarves to sewing masks.
"We are all horrified. The idea of one of my friends having to go into this situation without having any protective gear, I just can't imagine," said Paul. "If we can do one little thing, we're going to do it."
Paul is among a growing number eager to answer desperate calls from healthcare workers on social media and community forums asking for assistance in acquiring masks, gloves and other equipment needed to protect them against the pandemic that has killed at least 660 people in the United States and sickened more than 50,000.
Craig Enis, 50, works as a registered subacute nurse at Generations Healthcare in Walnut Creek, California. He said the facility is running low on surgical masks, gowns for isolation rooms, and hand sanitizer.
"N95-masks are just nonexistent right now," he said.
Enis is afraid for himself as a healthcare worker and for his vulnerable patients, but nothing scares him more than possibly bringing home the virus to his two children.
"It's incredibly scary because I'm a single father, and they have no choice but to be with me, so whatever I come home with, they're exposed to," Enis said.
A Google spreadsheet circulating online showed informal requests for almost three dozen medical facilities in the Bay Area, including the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF), Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health. Each request described items the facilities would accept and how to deliver them.
With California under a stay-at-home order, Paul rallied volunteer sewers to help. She has posted an instructional video on YouTube, provided kits with materials, and coordinated deliveries.
"We're all volunteering, and it just shows what a group of concerned citizens can do. We'll probably get 100 masks out today," said Paul, whose company, Indigo Handloom, is partnering with community members, including City College of San Francisco's fashion department, to increase mask production.
Anne Cocquyt, 36, in San Francisco, spent the weekend collecting unused and unopened boxes of N95-masks for nurses at Kaiser. She said she felt compelled to help after hearing reports on social media that nurses were cutting up plastic bottles to use as face shields.
"That's when we said 'OK, we need to do something right now,'" Cocquyt said. "This is a drop in the bucket but at the same time this might be one day's worth of supplies for the nurses in the ER."
In a statement, Kaiser Permanente said it was working to increase its supply of protective gear as quickly as possible and develop "a process to efficiently collect, inventory, inspect, and distribute these donations."
UCSF, meanwhile, set up three donation sites that opened on Monday (March 23). A statement called the donations critical for frontline employees.
(Production: Nathan Frandino, Shannon Stapleton, Robin Respaut)
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