There's a critical shortage of crucial Personal Protective Equipment nationally to shield front-line health workers who are battling the coronavirus.

Sierra View Medical Center Volunteer Coordinator Robin Cunha is doing something about it. She's spearheading crafting efforts in making masks and is asking community members to help.

Cunha is calling on others who are equipped with sewing machines and a creative instinct to help in creating cloth face masks to donate to SVMC and other health care organizations.

Most are using material to create masks, but since I worked in an operating room in the past, I came up with an idea to use the material used to cover sterile instruments in surgery,” Cunha said. “I made a prototype with the help of my co-worker Melissa Arend who helped capture step-by-step instructions. We have an outpouring of support from our community who are already busy making fabric masks and we anticipate much more help.”

Cunha said the response from the community has already been incredible, noting church groups and other social groups are banding together to make the masks.

“It's been a whirlwind since we started,” Cunha said. “An overwhelming response from the community. It's absolutely unbelievable how many people have contacte me wanting to make masks or who have questions.

“I can't tell you how overwhelming it is. It's just crazy how many people want to help. It says a lot about our community.”

It’s crucial for hospital staff to have masks so they can carry on their duties without fear for their own safety and that of their families, co-workers and other patients. Because there's a crisis-level scarcity of protective gear including paper surgical masks and the tight-fitting respirator masks known as N95 masks, SVMC is advocating the homemade mask movement.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states fabric masks are a crisis response option as a part of its “Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks.

My main concern when tasked with this project was to help provide protection to the medical staff that need to treat patients every day regardless of the ever-changing pandemic of this virus,” Cunha saidRobin. “I’m proud to contribute to something where we can come together as a community and solve a problem that can potentially save people from getting very sick.”

Those who are interested in making a difference by producing masks and donating them to SVMC, it’s recommended to use the custom pattern, guidelines and instructions that can be found at sierra-view.com/facemasks.

For questions, email marketing@sierra-view.comand to donate masks, call Cunha, 559-788-6076.

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