Rockford sewing group makes 1,000th mask for local essential workers

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — On Friday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker asked residents to wear a mask when going out in public, to help stop the transmission of coronavirus.

Heath officials continue to stress that N95 masks should be saved for those on the front lines, but cloth masks made at home could be worn when going out for essentials.

Beth Cote and her team of sewers have been using their free time to make homemade masks.

“I wish I could make millions of masks everyday and just give one to everybody,” she said. “We’ve also been handing out our masks to everyone from UPS people to our grocery store [workers], to ER doctors, to hospice and hospitals and cancer units. Our masks have been supplied to, maybe, 25 different organizations.”

Monday afternoon, Cote’s group completed their 1,000th mask.

“I’m glad to be able to help, but on one hand, it’s so sad to have to have people reach out to me, because of this basic human need to protect yourself,” she said.

Local health officials say anything covering your mouth and nose could help stop the spread of the disease.

Amanda Meh, Public Health Administrator for the Boone County Health Department, said, “The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) just came out with guidance and they are recommending cloth face covering for the public, when they leave their homes to make any type of essential trip.”

The CDC says a significant number of people can have the virus without showing symptoms.

“Those are specifically for preventing asymptomatic spread,” said Thomas Schiller, medical director for the Winnebago County Health Department. “Again, that’s preventing the person wearing the mask from spreading it.”

Sewers say they’re easy to make, as the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, recently demonstrated how to make one at home.

Some people have started putting filters in their homemade masks. The Winnebago County Health Department couldn’t vouch for the filters’ effectiveness, but do still recommend residents wear any type of masks.

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