Colorado nurses set up sewing room in Glenwood Springs hospital to make protective masks

Masks will be worn with N95s to extend use
Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 21:55:29-04

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. -- Two operating room nurses are spending their free time sewing masks to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus — and they're recruiting other staff members, too.

"We even had our plastic surgeon, who is normally used to stitching up her patients, get to work and learn how to sew to help us make these masks," said Kristen Dirksen, a nurse at Valley View Hospital.

Kristen Dirksen and Brady Heuer came up with an idea to make masks out of the cloth that they use when sterilizing surgical instruments. They brought a prototype to the hospital's emergency management team and started making the masks right away.

"So we did a little bit of research and we found out that the material is very similar to the masks that we wear already and the bacterial filtration rate is also very similar," said Dirksen.

The nurses explain the masks are designed to be worn over N95 masks to extend their life, allowing them to be worn up to five times.

"We’re not using our personal protective equipment the way we should be using that in a routine setting but we’re in a crisis mode," said Heuer.

They've been able to produce more than 5,000 masks so far.