Bay Area Grad Students Organize Nationwide Effort to Make Face Masks

Jeffrey Schaub
March 30, 2020 - 10:18 pm
Hand made cloth masks

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A group of public health graduate students in the Bay Area has organized a nationwide volunteer effort to create and pass out hand-made face masks to hospitals and clinics.

The effort has reached medical institutions in California and dozens of other states. 

Alexa Maguieri woke up with the idea to create a network of volunteer sewers to make fabric masks for those working in healthcare facilities in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

She told KCBS Radio that while these masks aren’t technically personal protective equipment (PPE) or N95 for those on the front line of defense, they can still make a difference. 

“They’re not gonna be the first line of defense for people who have COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19,” Maguieri said. “But they are going to be used for people in other departments in the hospital, which frees up the actual PPE for COVID-19 patients and providers.”

Now, hospitals in 30 states have signed up to receive the masks, including many Kaiser Permanente facilities in the Bay Area. Some hospitals even recommended colors and designs for the masks.

“So we’re definitely seeing a huge, amazing response from the sewing community and from others who want to be involved who are rallying together to serve the hospitals,” Maguieri said.