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UA nurses take face mask design to next level for coronavirus fight

(University of Arizona Photo)

PHOENIX – Staffers at the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing are using designing skills in addition to their health care aptitude to contribute to coronavirus relief efforts.

A trio of nurses created a make-at-home face mask pattern that has been turned into hundreds of cloth masks making their way to hospitals and fire departments, where protective virus gear has been in short supply all around the country.

Nurses Yvette Mathesen, Paige Bravo and Terry Bailey, who work in the want their alternative masks to be used to cover N95 masks or along with a shield that extends to at least the chin and both sides of the face.

“We are all in this together and it’s heartwarming to see our nurses working with community members to sew these for health-care workers who may be facing shortages amid this pandemic,” Connie Miller, chair of the school’s division of General Nursing and Health Education, said in a press release.

Quilters from the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Tucson added their expertise on the model, which took into account previous recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and also helped to make hundreds.

The masks tie in the back and unlike paper dust-protection types, cinch at the side to make for a tight fit against the face.

The cloth masks many not offer complete protection from the virus on their own, the school said, but because of the fabric ties should last longer than face coverings with elastic bands.

The group is sharing how to make the masks online.

The personal protection shortage has pushed manufacturers such as Honeywell into action. The company expects to produce more than six million N95 masks over the next year in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Public Health Services will send the masks to health, safety and emergency response workers across the state.

The Arizona Department of Transportation recently delivered more than 2,600 of its N95 masks to two state-operated assisted care facilities.

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