Grand Strand residents make hand-sewn face masks in response to shortage

Grand Strand residents making hand-sewn face masks in response to shortage

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s a trend popping up across the country in response to the current shortage of face masks.

Many people, including a few in the Grand Strand, are making hand-sewn face masks for those who need them.

"I actually do think it’s an effective alternative as opposed to nothing at all,” resident Christian Bossert said.

Bossert, who’s a seamstress, estimated she’s made at least 100 masks so far. The demand comes from both businesses and individuals.

She said a company in North Carolina recently ordered 30 fabric face masks for their employees.

“I had one customer who’s a nurse and she said all of our masks are gone, we have none and so it’s definitely better than having nothing at all," Bossert said.

The masks are made with 100% cotton. They can be washed and reused.

Lindsay Cortese, another seamstress, said she didn’t realize how much of a need it was when she made a Facebook post in the Horry County Citizen’s Crisis group.

At first, Cortese said requests started pouring in from people who are at high-risk for the virus, such as senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions.

However, hospital employees, some all the way from Seattle, Washington and Texas, have reached out.

She estimated around 400 requests have been made so far.

“I just jumped on it because I love to sew.” Cortese said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website states health care personnel can use homemade masks as the last resort. However, they don’t know how effective the masks are against the coronavirus at this time.

Still, Cortese said the masks can be used for different reasons.

“To stop them from touching their face, stop you from spreading the virus or possibly transmitting it yourself if you do have it," Cortese said.

A spokesperson with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control said some hospitals and first responders have reported face mask shortages.

They said DHEC is ordering more protective equipment and have requested additional supplies from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the full statement from DHEC below:

"Shortages in the healthcare and first responder community have been reported. DHEC is ordering personal protective equipment (PPE) as availability returns from vendors, and we’ve also requested additional PPE from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Also, please note that South Carolina requested its full allocation of supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. We received the first, of what may be multiple shipments, on March 17. After we inventoried the materials, which was 55 pallets that contain N-95 masks, face shields, surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, the materials were distributed to all 46 counties on March 20 by the South Carolina National Guard.

The distribution of materials was data driven to ensure needs are fairly met based on county populations based on the 2010 Census and emergent needs. We anticipate a second allotment to be delivered in the coming weeks."

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