COOPERSTOWN – Bassett Healthcare Network welcomes the many offers from individuals and community groups to sew protective fabric masks for health care staff responding to COVID-19. There is a severe shortage of standard facemasks due to the demand created by the pandemic.
Bassett Healthcare Network Pharmacy Director Kelly Rudd, PharmD. explains, “While fabric masks are not a substitute for health care grade respirator-type masks, this is a coordinated effort to use the fabric masks to extend the life and supply of the N95 respirator masks. These respirator masks are in critical short supply nationally, and provide the best protection for our health care workers, patients and community.
Rudd says the handmade fabric masks will be disinfected and able to be used repeatedly throughout this pandemic, according to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the use of fabric masks during a crisis response.
How you can help
There are multiple ways the public can assist. Some of these include donating
your time to sew fabric masks, donating supplies for making fabric masks
or monetary donations to purchase supplies for use by the volunteers.
Among the many individuals who contacted Bassett to ask about helping protect health care workers by sewing protective fabric masks was Jill Accordino from Davenport. She was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of breast cancer just before Christmas in 2017. Over the next year and a half, she underwent chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments, and considers herself an inflammatory breast cancer survivor.
“My doctors and nurses saved my life. I want to ‘pay it forward’. If it was not for them I would not be here,” says Accordino.
Accordino, who says she has sewn since she was six years old, has made over 40 fabric masks so far and has invited others to join her in doing the same for the Bassett network.
“I will keep sewing and making more masks to help out the Bassett community,” says Accordino.
Plan to sew fabric masks?
Instructions, including patterns for making the masks, can be found on the Bassett Healthcare Network website: bassett.org/covid-19/protective-fabric-masks.
The masks should be made of tightly-woven 100 percent cotton fabric, white fabric is preferred.
Completed protective fabric masks may be dropped off, beginning Wednesday, March 25, or mailed to Bassett’s warehouse located at 26 Grove St. Cooperstown, NY 13326 (if mailing, please put Attention: Fabric Masks). Other drop off locations will be added at a later date.
The network currently believes it will need around 20,000 fabric masks, any extras received beyond that number will be donated to other health care facilities in need.
Interested in supporting the sewers?
If you desire to donate supplies to the effort, we are in need of the following items: Preshrunk 100% cotton of a tight weave (white is preferred, but patterns and colors are acceptable.). One yard creates approximately five masks. No red fabrics please – the color may run when laundered and disinfected. Elastic cord or 1/8” elastic ribbon; one yard creates approximately two masks.
If you wish to submit a monetary donation to support these or other efforts, please contact the Friends of Bassett at (607) 547-3928 or 1-800-BASSETT. Visit friendsofbassett.org and look for the “Donate Now” in upper right corner. Within the donation form, please select the designation of “Other.”
For more information about COVID-19 and Bassett’s response, visit bassett.org/covid-19.