CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - UPDATE: UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital released a statement over the weekend, saying it has received overwhelming support for masks.
"Our communities are amazing! We are overwhelmed by the support we’re receiving as we respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over the last several days, we’ve heard from people across our footprint offering to help us create homemade masks for our caregivers. The response has been so great that we’re taking the next couple of days to evaluate how best to collect, store and use donated masks as our response continues. We’re planning to share more detailed information about how you can help in the next few days. In the meantime, the very best way to support caregivers is to practice social distancing and staying home whenever possible. We’re grateful to be part of so many amazing communities!"
ORIGINAL STORY: UnityPoint - St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids is looking for sewers to help make masks due to a short supply nationwide from COVID-19.
The hospital said fabric masks can be washed and re-used. Health care workers change their masks several times during shifts for maximum protection.
"A new modular mask, The Olson, named after 1930s legendary maker nurse Lyla Mae Olson, was quickly developed by clinicians from UnityPoint Health and is being shared across the globe in the fight against COVID-19," the hospital said in a release. "A group of medical professionals teamed up the at St. Luke’s generate prototyping space to create a series of experimental designs rooted material science and easy fabrication. No special instruments are required for fabrication, and the pattern is compatible with common mask patterns being released around the country."
And at Mercy Hospital in Cedar Rapids, volunteer seamstresses have stepped up to make masks, but the hospital is asking more people to make even more masks.
“It’s heartwarming to be part of this community initiative that’s drawing volunteer seamstresses from all over eastern Iowa,” Laura Sagers, Mercy volunteer, said. “Already, so many volunteers have contacted us and are making the masks. We anticipate having 1,000 available for use by early next week. The volunteers are just so pleased to be helping fill a need in a very tangible way.”
Mask-making guidelines can be found at www.mercycare.org. Completed masks may be dropped off by pulling up to Mercy’s 10th St. entrance and putting the masks in a collection box. Mercy is located at 701 10th St. SE in Cedar Rapids. Drop-off hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
While both hospitals have enough masks, for now, officials said they want to be proactive in case of future supply challenges.
Regional Medical Center in Manchester is also looking for help making masks. Details can be found here.