Canada

Kingston woman makes homemade masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19

A Kingston designer has taken it upon herself to use her studio to create masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Health authorities across Canada have been urging people who are not health-care workers to avoid wearing N95 masks and other medical-grade masks during the pandemic.

That gave Amelia Viveiros, owner of Amelia Rose, and her mother an idea.

“My mom is working from her home, and I’m here, and we are making masks from 100 per cent cotton,” said Viveiros via Skype.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Wearing non-medical masks will help others but not you, Tam says

The duo has manufactured around 30 masks for family and friends, but Viveiros says demand is growing after she posted a picture of her masks on social media.

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“I can’t keep up with the messages and the people who are in need. Truck drivers, correctional workers, PSWs, everybody — they all want masks,” said Viveiros.

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Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, said on Monday that homemade masks or non-medical coverings are an additional measure to prevent the spread of the virus.

She made the statement after explaining that there is a growing concern that people infected with COVID-19 can transmit the virus before they develop symptoms.

“A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others or land on surfaces,” said Dr. Tam.

READ MORE: Don’t get lulled into false sense of security with homemade masks amid coronavirus pandemic: WRHA

Kingston General Hospital is asking for donations of medical-grade masks but is not accepting hand-sewn masks.

Dr. Gerald Evans, the medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at Kingston Health Sciences Centre, says the hospitals are grateful for the generosity of community members who have been sewing homemade masks, but says the homemade variety is not considered official personal protective equipment.

“Home-sewn fabric masks are useful and can be used by patients, such as those that come to KHSC for dialysis, and other outpatient care,” said Dr. Evans.

Given the risk to health-care workers, Viveiros understands the message but is hoping her homemade masks can make a difference in the fight against COVID-19, as it may provide protection and comfort to those out and about in the community.

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“It’s a good feeling because you’re contributing in some way,” said Viveiros.

Viveiros says the production of the masks is on hold as her recent order for elastics has yet to arrive, but once they do she will be accepting donations for her hand-sewn masks.

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