Community steps up, makes hundreds of homemade face masks

Community helps healthcare industry by making homemade face masks

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many people are dropping everything and responding to the needs of the healthcare industry by sewing face masks. The biggest goal of the masks is to cover your nose and mouth or to even protect you from others, but do these homemade masks meet the guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)?

“The CDC is fairly clear. They are only to be used as a measure of last resort. At this time, we are facing a crisis our country has never faced before,” said Dr. Abdullah Moosa, a pulmonary critical care physician at Our Lady of the Lake.

It’s why so many people from the community are doing exactly what Mindy Wood is doing.

“I own a drapery workroom. MW Drapery Design is my business, but I am a full operational drapery work room, but we paused all those operations for at least this week to get these masks out,” said Wood.

She locks herself in a room in her home from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. every evening and hopes to pump out 50 masks per day. So far, she says she’s close to finishing 200.

Wood says she started Friday, March 20 when a friend from a Baton Rouge hospice group asked for masks. But in just the past five days, news of her mask-making skills has gone viral.

“Everybody from California has reached out to me, to North Carolina and everywhere in the state, we need some kind of protection,” said Wood.

“One of the first and most important things is for us to be able to protect the healthcare workers,” said Dr. Moosa.

Dr. Moosa says technically, there’s no CDC guidance on how to make homemade masks, but there’s guidance that those masks are only to be used as a last resort.

“At the moment, it does appear that we do have adequate supplies to be able to care for all of our patients, but in due time, as we expect, this crisis is going to be with us for a long period of time. We anticipate that we may face the situation where we would be short on supplies,” said Dr. Moosa.

If hospitals run out of supplies, that’s when they may rely on homemade masks because some protection is better than none.

But there’s mixed information out there about whether these homemade masks even work.

“We don’t know for sure because these face masks have not been tested. There’s no standardized weight of what these homemade face masks are made of,” said Dr. Moosa.

In the meantime, people like Wood say they’re beyond blessed to be able to give back to those on the front lines.

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“At the end of the day, we are doing what I think God has called us to do,” said Wood.

“We tremendously appreciate the efforts of the community is taking to try to protect us,” said Dr. Moosa.

In the case that hospitals in Baton Rouge or elsewhere in the state would need the donated masks, OLOL says if they’re able to, they will happily share.

Masks can be donated to the OLOL Foundation, but you’re asked to call or email and set up a time for drop-off rather than simply showing up. You can call 225-374-1756 or email Foundation@ololrmc.com.

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