ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Volunteers are donating their time and skills to make medical masks as healthcare workers face a severe shortage of protective gear against coronavirus.
The effort comes after the CDC has given the go-ahead to use cloth masks.
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Olmsted Medical Center is collecting masks and volunteers are able to drop them off at the Welcome Desk at the main entrance of the hospital.
Primary care physician Dr. Zaheer Shah from Arizona said, "There are people who are literally wearing bandannas because they have nothing better to protect themselves from the respiratory droplets of patients that have COVID-19."
OMC says volunteers can help by making face masks out of fabric that's 100-percent cotton or hospital sterilized wrap. The masks need to be 9 inches by 6 inches with a 7-inch elastic band.
Mayo Clinic Dr. Richard Kennedy says the effort is a positive one but it remains to be seen how effective the masks will be.
He explained, "Whether they're going to be safe and effective yet we'll be finding out because chances are we're going to running out of the regular masks and need to turn to these. They're certainly better than nothing."
Those who have been helping make masks include OMC employees, church and school groups.
If you're interested in helping OMC is using the pattern from the Deaconess Hospital in Indiana. You can find that here.