Seamstresses sew masks for hospital patients at Atrium Health

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of seamstresses across the Carolinas is getting results for hospital patients.

The Tree Tops Needlecrafters in Lancaster, South Carolina are social distancing in a picture and showing off their work in the fight against the coronavirus.                                                                                               

The seamstresses, along with 700 total volunteers across three states, are getting results for patients at Atrium Health by sewing more than four-thousand handmade cloth masks. They expect to make 40,000 masks within next three weeks.

“It does help to act like a protective barrier covering your mouth so any aerosols or droplets which come out of your mouth, it definitely helps prevent spread of that,” said Dr. Anupama Neelakanta, an infectious disease doctor at Atrium.

Dr. Neelakanta says right now the hospital does not have a shortage of protective masks for healthcare workers.

So the handmade masks, which are not as fluid-resistant as regular masks, will now be given to patients at the hospital, but if the supply of other masks begins to run low, the doctor says the cloth masks could be used as a last resort for hospital workers.

“It’s hard to say what happens to the supply chain, but I do suspect that since we do think this epidemic is going to peak in a few weeks, we will have increased demand for this,” said Dr. Neelakanta.

Kathleen Sharp works at Atrium. The Tree Tops Needlecrafters are her neighbors. She got them involved in helping create a prototype for the masks.

Kathleen says you don’t even need to be a seamstress to help out.

“We have wire that goes to help shape the nose, so that the nose, you can see how this bends, the nose will fit better to your face, we have people that their contribution is cutting those ties to the right length, we have people that are cutting the elastic bands.”

If you’d like to help out in making the masks or if you know an organization which may benefit from the masks, email Communitybenefit@atriumhealth.org

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