DIY protection: Locals fabricate face masks and shields

Idea Fab Labs handmade face masks.

As COVID-19 patients stream into intensive care units across the U.S., one of the biggest looming concerns is the scarcity of ventilators and other medical equipment needed for hospital patients, and just as crucially, personal protective equipment for health care workers. Short supplies of respirators, face masks and face shields have prompted a call for donations from the public, especially the N95 respirators that many in Butte County stocked up on during the Camp Fire (see below for info on how to donate).

When the N95 masks are depleted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that reusable/washable masks are an acceptable last-resort measure, and in Chico, locals are hitting the sewing machines hard to get masks out. Joann Fabrics and Craft is offering curbside pick-up of fabric and drop-off of homemade masks as part of its Make to Give effort (follow link for info).

Meanwhile, Chico’s Idea Fabrication Labs is making masks to donate (via the Butte County Made With Love Facebook group) and is also fabricating three kinds of plastic face shields at its Orange Street facility—disposable, washable/reusable, and a specialized one designed to be worn over a respirator.

Instructions for how to make the cloth masks can be found here and here.

To donate N95 respirators to Enloe Medical Center, call (530) 332-7160 Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

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