HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Hospitals are being stressed with the outbreak of COVID-19, and disposable masks are becoming more of a precious commodity for medical workers around the planet.
In Holland, a small group of volunteers is doing what it can to help slow the shortage.
At Macedonia Baptist Church, they believe that their main weapon in the battle against COVID-19 is compassion.
“We want to reach out to the community in whichever way we can help them — spiritually, with materials like the masks, anything,” said Elda Haak, an assistant at the church.
She’s one of about four people that are spending time making masks for increasingly stressed medical professionals.
“It really starts to burden on you at a certain point, and so seeing that the community is doing things for us that way and thinking of us is really helpful,” said Daniela Egelmeer, a pediatrician at Holland Pediatric Associates.
Due to the amount of equipment that needs to be used, some medical providers are experiencing shortages of disposable masks.
There are still regulations for putting them together, but those rules have relaxed.
“There are a lot more rigid guidelines normally that are in place for protective equipment for physicians,” Egelmeer said. “But right now, some of those are being left aside a little bit right now because we’re in a state of emergency and we’re not able to make everything exactly the way it needs to be but as protective as possible.”
The N-95 respirator needs to be reserved for those directly treating victims of the coronavirus.
“Those are very scarce right now,” Egelmeer said. “So, we’re trying to keep those and give them to the people who are going to be right in contact with the sickest patients.”
Currently, the church is still looking for any fabric donations it can get to keep the sewing machines busy.
“For the doctors, for the nurses because we know that kind of job is one that God blesses us really when we serve others and not only ourselves,” Haak said.
They will be distributed to Holland Pediatric Associates on Monday.
Some hospitals are still evaluating their need for donated masks, such as Spectrum Health.
News 8 reached out to Spectrum and received the following response:
“We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming generosity from our community and the offers to help with supplies. We are evaluating these possibilities, while we continue to prioritize our supplies based on the treatment and care needs of our patients. People are encouraged to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, where we keep track of all offers of support and will contact people based on need. We are working to manage this ever-changing situation and will be communicating how we can move forward together soon.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heath care professionals should only use homemade masks as a last resort, as they are not considered personal protection equipment. More information for health care professionals using face masks can be found on the CDC’s website.