With a shortage of medical masks amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, one local woman has taken on the challenge and called on others to help her make face masks for Lamar County medical professionals and front line first responders.
Paige Jordan, wife of Dr. Ty Jordan with Paris Regional Medical Center, said she was inspired to help those medical professionals and front line contact professionals. She was wanting to help them be as safe as they possibly can, knowing that there are no more N95 masks available.
“The N95 face masks are the best out there to use. But there are no more at the moment, so I wanted to do my part to help those professionals to be as safe as they can while working,” said Jordan. “Nothing is bulletproof, but something is better than nothing at all, and I found some guidelines from the CDC that helped in making these masks the best that we can.”
Lamar County Medical Mask Sewing Group on Facebook is the frontline for locals to get sewing patterns, information on what fabrics to use, and so forth.
“The masks need to be 100 percent cotton in order to be washed in hot water to clean and they need to cover the nose, mouth, and chin fully,” explained Jordan. “We do not know what the future holds or how long this will last, but preparedness is always a good idea.”
The short term goal is to have 1,000 masks made for the local medical community. So far, there have been a few dozen put together that will be distributed to those that are needing one.
Jordan said that having learned the art of sewing from her mom and grandmother, she knew that this was the best way she could help with the current situation.
“I wanted to help those that help us,” she said. “And this project is a great way for many people in the community to help. Even if they don’t know how to sew, they can maybe cut fabric or help with getting supplies-there is something that everyone can do to.”
At this time, Jordan says that they need several items to ensure that the mask’s being made are in line with CDC guidelines.
Items needed are:
- A fourth of an inch size elastic
- Pipe cleaners
- Bendable wire
- Batting, flat or bolt of fabric- NO PUFFY batting
- Fusible fleece
- White/grey or black thread
- Fabric, 100 percent cotton or cotton flannel
“Supplies are running low, but we are hopeful that there are people with these items that can either donate or join the efforts to help get 1,000 masks created,” she said.
With the cotton mask’s being created, Jordan said that they also have the ability for its new owner to be able to wash the mask should they get “dirty,” enabling them to have continued use of the mask. And always having a back up ready to use if there isn’t anything else available.
“The mask’s can be washed in hot water and used again. This is great for those who may be working at the front desk of a doctor’s office or in the emergency room, basically anywhere that has the possibility of someone coughing or sneezing. They can wash, dry and wear again,” she said.
When it comes to the design, Jordan said that all designs are welcome for donation.
“We want some fun designs for sure, but we are also in need of some neutral colors, for those that prefer a mask on the simpler side,” she said. “We want everyone to have a mask that they feel confident in.”
And for those that receive a mask, Jordan asks that they post a picture on social media to help spread some happiness during this stressful time.
For those that work on the front lines as medical or first responder professionals such as; therapists, nurses, doctors, protective services, paramedics, law enforcement, firefighters and any other profession that puts themselves in direct contact with patients are encouraged to reach out to Fair Guest as she is helping Jordan coordinate the masks.
“Requesters please send me a PM or Text message at 903-517-2996 to request your name be added to the list. Sewers, if you will comment which request you will be filling, I will mark those on my list.” posted Guest in the Facebook group. “Once complete, let me know, and I will contact the requester to make arrangements for pick up/delivery.”
Guest said that since she can’t sew, that helping coordinate the masks to those that need it is a way that she can help.
“Lamar County Healthcare worker requests will be filled first, then we will go to individual requests and other areas if supplies are available,” she further explained.
With more and more locals coming on board to help Jordan, she says that it gets a little overwhelming at times, but is thankful to everyone that is helping in some way to help her reach her goal of helping those on the front line.
“It will take time to fill all the requests, but I’m confident that we can do it if we all ban together,” said Jordan. “This is a great community project that we can all be a part of, and I hope more people join our group to see what they can do to help.”
To join the group CLICK HERE, if you wish to donate fabric or goods for sewers. You can go to the drop off box located at the T-Shirt Shoppe on N Collegiate Dr. in Paris, or Southern Glam’d at 135 Bohnam St.