Craig ladies stitching masks with care

Mary Hunter recently recruited ladies of the Craig County Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee and others from the Daughters of the American Revolution to help make masks for the local EMS teams in Craig County. She presented EMS workers, Darryl Humphreys and Jim Cady with 15 masks to start, promising many more to come. From left to right, Darryl Humphreys, Diane Givens, Margaret Hines, Mary Hunter, Robin Garst, Carol Looney and Jim Cady.

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

With Coronavirus dominating the news and impacting more people by the day, there are so much negative headlines today. Craig County residents are working diligently to help one another combat this virus and keep people safe.

Last week, Mary Hunter received an email from Pam Dudding explaining that the community’s EMS teams were in need of masks, and was asked if she and her “seamstress friends could possibly make masks?”

Within two hours, Hunter had googled the pattern and made six. She connected with members of the Craig County Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, immediately forwarding three different tutorials.

Ladies from the Daughters of the American Revolution heard and offered to help too.

Hunter chose the Farm Bureau office as a collection point. Individuals interested in heping can call in advance and leave the masks on the front porch. Hunter also offered to provide material if possible.

Hunter also shared that she learned more and more, after each one she made. Once she cut out the pattern, it took her less than ten minutes to sew one together. Her first six had the VT emblem on the front with burgundy flannel on the back.

On March 27, Hunter brought 15 masks to the EMS building, accompanied by three other ladies. Jim Cady, Craig County’s Emergency Management Coordinator and Emergency Services Coordinator, and Darryl Humphreys the Infectious Control Officer gladly received them.

Hunter made two sizes and Humphreys decided which one would work best.

Cady shared the newest information the handmade masks for EMS workers he received from the CD. In part, it stated, “the handmade mask can be worn alone or over an N95 for isolation precautions to extend N95 use when appropriate during a severe shortage of available PPE. Intended for reuse after laundering.”

Cady explained that all EMS workers are wearing N95 masks and after each call, they discard them. “With the help of these handmade masks, they will be allowed to wear them over top of the N95 with patients that are not COVID-19 patients and reuse them after laundering in bleach.”

“This will help us preserve the number of N95 masks,” he added. “Now we can take these and if the patient does not have the coronavirus, we can use these as protection. We are running out of N95’s nationwide.”

He also shared that last Thursday, they used six masks on three calls and had to throw them all away. CDC now states they can wear the handmade over the N95. “We can reuse the mask now,” Cady said with a smile.

“We really appreciate you doing this,” Humphreys noted.

Cady added, “CDC changes regulations all the time. However, Darryl and I have a plan in how to use these. They are going to allow us not to use up our N95 masks and your masks on patients, like last night where a two-year old fell.”

As of Wednesday morning, there are no confirmed cases in Craig County. “However, we have a couple of people who are under investigation. It’s taking four to seven days to get test results back,” he said.

After they were tested, Darryl disinfected the facility.

“This means, when we come to help others, we are possibly entering a contaminated area,” he said. “If we all get it, we will really be in trouble.”

Cady and Humphreys are making sure the EMS workers are using drastic precautions to stay healthy during these uncertain times.

Humphreys suggested for people not to take ibuprofen. “I don’t think it’s proven, but they are basing it on people’s reactions who have contracted the COVID-19, that it accelerates the virus. If you have symptoms, stay at home and don’t go to work or out in public, even if mild symptoms as you could be a carrier,” he said.

“Thank y’all ladies for doing this for us,” said both Humphreys and Cady. Hunter promised, “We will get you more.”

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