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Willcox sews masks for healthcare professionals

WILLCOX- Stitch-by-stitch, locals are making masks for individuals in the medical field as a way to say “Thanks”.

Multiple Willcox locals are working behind their sewing machines and producing homemade masks for their local clinics, librarians and the Safeway Pharmacy.

Patina Thompson makes the masks at home with her children. Initially, Thompson began constructing the masks when a friend who works in the emergency room in the Benson Hospital requested one.

In one weekend, Thompson’s family made 14 masks, leaving them at the Benson hospital to pick up. After that, her family made 22 more masks, leaving them at a Tucson hospital. Northern Cochise Community Hospital has also asked Thompson’s family for 20 masks.

Nichole Hubbard: 

Willcox librarian Nichole Hubbard models a recently-made mask that she wears while dropping off books for curbside pickup. Lucy Wilson created the mask for Hubbard, who is a co-worker.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s our chance to help them just a little in their time of need. The time and effort we put into each mask is our way to send appreciation to the healthcare professionals that keep our community healthy and safe year-round,” said Thompson.

“My sewing room is my happy place,” said Lucy Wilson, librarian for the Elsie S. Hogan Community Library.

Wilson is working steadily on her masks to distribute to Willcox health professionals. She made her first batch for her fellow librarians for when they distribute books to families who request their delivery outside of the library.

She has dropped off 10 masks to the Safeway pharmacy, and she has cut 30 more mask patterns out and will deliver them to the Northern Cochise Community Hospital.

“It takes about 30 minutes for me to make one,” said Wilson. “Mine take a little longer to make because they don’t have elastic since elastic deteriorates quicker. I keep sewing until my thumbs hurt, then I take a break.”

Patina Thompson 

Colorful fabrics are being turned into handmade masks due to the shortage for local healthcare professionals.

Experts, however, say the only mask that can prevent people from getting the coronavirus is the N95 mask.

It says the following the Centers for Disease Control website:

“In settings where face masks are not available, (health care providers) might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect (health care providers) is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”

There could be some benefits to homemade masks, though. Captain Michael Doyle, a U.S. Army New York National Guard physician assistant, told USA TODAY, that do-it-yourself masks “serve as a reminder for us to not touch our face.”