In times of crisis, it seems there is no shortage of heroes throughout our communities. These are unassuming individuals who rise to the occasion and lend a hand in whatever way they can. I want to highlight some of these heroes who happen to be sewers.

Bassett Healthcare Network has reported that there has been a tremendous outpouring from the community, offering to help support Bassett healthcare caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst the shortage of surgical masks, community members are volunteering to make fabric surgical masks. The CDC says that in times of crisis, fabric surgical masks are allowed for use.

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:
·         Donation of your time to sew fabric masks
·         Donation of supplies for making fabric masks
·         Monetary donation to purchase supplies for use by the volunteers

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.)
-    1 yard creates approximately 5 masks
-    No red fabrics please – the color may run when laundered and disinfected.
-    Elastic cord or 1/8” elastic ribbon
-   1 yard creates approximately 2 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.