SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION)–A group of volunteers in Santa Cruz is hard at work sewing handmade masks during the COVID-19 pandemic so that personal protective equipment can be saved for health care workers.
Crafters stitch together the handmade face masks out of cotton fabric.
With a national shortage of personal PPE, like face masks, Santa Cruz Crafters Against Covid are doing what they can to fill some of that need.
“This is a way for our community to come together and to work on solving a problem together,” Tricia Potts said.
The masks are for patients at nursing homes, nonprofits who make food deliveries, and people with medical needs.
The goal is to have patients wear them to protect medical workers and save the special PPE for those health care workers.
Potts and her twin daughters are just some of the more than 120 people in the Facebook group of crafters working on these cotton masks.
“Our Medical workers are in an unprecedented situation. They are being asked to deal with this pandemic with a shortage of supplies and anything that we can do to help them out is desperately needed,” Potts said.
But these masks are not for everyone. Health care workers must use more protective N95 masks. And cloth masks and surgical masks have their limitations.
“Cloth masks are good at protecting others around you, but not necessarily to prevent the virus from being transmitted to you,” Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency Chief of Public Health Jennifer Herrera said.
The agency said face masks can provide additional protection but it’s important to still maintain social distance and wash hands. California Governor Gavin Newsom echoed this sentiment at a news conference Wednesday.
“Face coverings broadly defined can be additive but not a substitute for social distancing, physical distancing that is required at the moment,” Newsom said.
If you’d like to join along and put your skills to use, the group is still accepting volunteers. You can find them on Facebook by searching for "Santa Cruz Crafters Against Covid."
They are not making the cloth masks for medical workers right now, but the need may arise in the future.