Concerns over medical supplies prompts designers to develop masks
- Jeanelle Mandes | April 19, 2020
Surgical face masks have been scarce across the country during the Coronavirus pandemic which has led to many people making face masks to protect themselves and others.
Heather Bouchier from the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation but lives in Edmonton wanted to do her part to help those who are vulnerable by making homemade face masks.
“I’m a seamstress so I have the time to do it right now,” she said. “I just wanted to help…I wanted to get them to people who can’t afford them.”
Bouchier uses quilting cotton which is two layers of tightly woven cotton and adds a disposable filter inside the face mask pocket. She uses the wiring from a pipe cleaner for the nose padding area and elastics that go behind the ears.
“Just because you have a face mask on, don’t touch your face. And you have to wash the face mask after each use,” she added. “For everyone who wants to make face mask, follow the guidelines on how to make them.”
Bouchier has made over 100 and counting and sells them for $5 a piece to make them more affordable. From the money she makes, Bouchier uses it to buy more material to make more face masks as more people request for her services.
Michelle Goulet from the Peepeekisis First Nation but lives in Regina is another face mask maker seen a call out from a nurse in the city asking people to start making cloth masks.
“I thought I could do that, I have fabric and the time,” said Goulet. “I made 70 to start…and I donated to frontline workers, Elderly people and people who are more compromised and susceptible to the virus.”
Goulet also follows a guideline from the internet on how to properly make face masks.
“It seemed like the 100% cotton masks were the best way to go and to step it up was to include a layer of melt-blown fabric which is non-woven so secretions can’t make it through,” said Goulet. “I just happen to have a few yards of fabric similar to that. I use an elastic and a little bit of trim and sew it all together. I put a pipe cleaner on the bridge of the nose.”
Goulet doesn’t charge for her face masks but has been offered some money for her time spent on making the masks. She reinvests the money to buy more fabric so she can make more in her spare time.
“I felt bad about it because I thought ‘what if people can’t afford the masks?’ I decided to give them away,” she said. “I don’t expect anything from anyone. If anyone needs a mask, they can let me know.”
Goulet has mailed masks to Winnipeg, Saskatoon and even as far as Texas.
“People should be helping each other during this time,” she said.
The Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili made a call out to Saskatchewanians on April 5, 2020 to reserve surgical masks meant for healthcare workers and encourages the public to wear homemade face masks when going out in public.
The Government of Saskatchewan released information on their website regarding homemade face masks.
“With this emerging information, health officials have agreed that wearing a non-medical mask – even if you have no symptoms – is an additional measure you may take to protect others around you…Wearing a non-medical mask will not prevent you from getting sick. It is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces,” according to the website. “A homemade mask does not replace public health measures that are proven to be effective.”
For more information on homemade face masks, visit: www.saskatchewan.ca.