Volunteers sewing masks for CMH
KITCHENER -- A new mask-making initiative is gaining traction across Cambridge, as volunteers try to help make up for a shortage of personal protective equipment.
“More experienced sewers are cranking out 200 masks a day,” said volunteer Michelle Jacques.
Volunteer drivers are dropping off thousands of face masks to Cambridge Memorial Hospital.
“We are making a mask that is equivalent to that type of disposable mask,” said Jacques.
CMH officials say the cotton masks will not be used by healthcare staff but visitors and discharged patients as these are not the same as certified N95 masks.
“Our masks however, are reusable. The hospital is doing the sanitizing of them in between uses,” explained Jacques.
Despite the good intentions of volunteers, some experts are critical of homemade masks.
“What the worry would be that it would give someone a false sense of safety,” said Stephanie DeWitte-Orr.
DeWitte-Orr, an associate professor of health sciences and biology at Wilfrid Laurier University, says these types of masks might not be the answer in the fight against COVID-19.
“The virus is so small, viruses are nanometers in diameter. So, there so small that if someone sneezed you could just breathe the virus through that fabric into your nose,” she explained.
Public health officials in the Wellington area echo this sentiment, saying there is no evidence that masks protect healthy people.
“In fact, because you may be adjusting your mask frequently you actually raise the risk of transmission by touching your face,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public.
Experts still say the best way to not get sick is to wash your hands often and practice physical distancing.
Meanwhile, the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation says they are accepting the donations, in an effort to conserve the clinical masks for frontline workers.