Making masks for the cause: Colorado businesses, groups step up to help fight novel coronavirus

Posted at 7:33 PM, Mar 27, 2020

DENVER -- Businesses, groups, and individuals across the state and across the country are stepping up to help healthcare workers dealing with a shortage in medical equipment and protective gear by making face masks.

“We saw a need and we’re gonna do everything we can to help not only our people here but the greater good,” Denver Mattress Assistant GM of Manufacturing Matt Overmyer told Denver7.

With many stores closed due to the novel coronavirus, production of mattresses at Denver Mattress has gone down. So, the company decided to shift a portion of its production into making masks.

“We already have contracts in negotiation with local hospitals and have been asked to produce roughly 40,000 masks, so right now we’re working on that,” Overmyer said.

Workers are using materials the company had on hand, like quilt backing and elastic from mattress pads, to create the four-layered mask.

“The very first day without training we were able to make a little over a thousand and hopefully we can ramp over the next few weeks to produce multiple thousand per day," he said.

At the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the theaters may be empty but work is still being done. The costume staff at DCPA is making masks from home.

“We’re all working from home now, we’re all sequestered at home and it feels like since we have the skills to do this, it’s incumbent upon us to do it to try to do our part to help in any way we can,” costume crafts director Kevin Copenhaver said.

The team is sewing masks using cotton material that the DCPA usually uses to make costumes.

“It’s probably up there with the best production I’ve ever worked on,” Copenhaver said. “It’s beyond that, it’s such a larger picture, it’s a global picture.”

And if you want to get involved by sewing masks, Jo Ann Fabrics stores are offering kits for free that can be picked up, put together at home, and dropped off at stores to be delivered to hospitals in need.

A company spokesperson said individual sewers were responsible for creating 1.5 million masks just this week.

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Masks must follow certain guidelines, and the CDC recommends that non-surgical masks are only used as a last resort. Health officials across the country are reporting a shortage in PPE, or personal protective equipment, including those surgical masks.