The State Fair of Virginia is inviting all crafters, quilters and others who create with textiles to help make face masks for health care professionals.
As Virginia faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, health care workers and facilities across the state are grappling with the respirator and face mask shortage affecting the entire nation.
Responding to local demand and the growing movement to make homemade face masks to support health care providers, fair organizers are asking its community of crafters to start sewing.
“It’s an effort to connect our crafters to the current local need and give them an opportunity to help,” said Stuart Sanders, the fair’s assistant executive director. “Many of our annual competitors have the skills to create PPE [personal protective equipment], which is in high demand.”
The local initiative began through a Facebook group called RVA Masks 4 Health, and Sanders was asked to join.
“Once we saw the donation requests from specific health care facilities, we gathered and sent the information to our State Fair community,” Sanders said.
Face masks are an essential part of health care workers’ PPE. Faced with not having a mask at all, many health care workers are resorting to other measures, such as reusing single-use masks or using them beyond the official shelf life.
And while the homemade masks aren’t medical-grade and don’t provide much protection when used on their own, they are known to help extend the life and use of surgical or N95 masks when worn on top. Many health care experts also agree that having any mask is better than no mask at all during extreme circumstances.
Those wishing to contribute to the effort are asked to review instructions and guidelines for homemade masks, such as the proper patterns, specific fabrics that should be used and which facilities are accepting donations.
For more information, instructions and links to video tutorials, visit the StateFairVa.org, or the State Fair of Virginia’s Facebook page.