Brandy Maslowski shows a fabric mask which can be used to offer some protection against the COVID-19 virus. However, the reusable masks are only 50 per cent as effective as the N95 medical masks. (Contributed)

Summerland quilter ready to produce reusable face masks

Fabric masks would be 50 per cent as effective as N95 masks against COVID-19 virus

A Summerland quilter offering to make masks to help medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandy Maslowski said the idea for the masks came from the Facebook group Just Wanna Quilt, where she is a member.

Members of the group have been discussing how to make reusable masks to help medical workers, since concerns have been raised about the supply of medical masks.

“I want to be ready to mobilize the quilters here,” she said.

The members of the group, some with medical knowledge, determined that a mask made with two layers of cotton cloth, would be 50 per cent as effective as the N95 surgical masks.

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Tea towel fabric has better protection, but the fabric also has lower breathability.

If a filter is added to a mask made from two layers of cotton fabric, the effectiveness increases, Maslowski said. However, there are still questions about what kinds of filters could be used.

Maslowski has made prototypes of the masks and is contacting clinics and the Penticton Regional Hospital to determine if there is a demand.

“If the need arises, we’re here. We’re ready to go,” she said.

Creating the prototype took around 20 minutes, but Maslowski said masks could be made at a rate of 10 per hour now that a design is in place.

If there is a need, Maslowski will contact the 40-member Summerland Material Girls, the 50-member Okanagan Modern Quilting Guild and the 60-member Penticton Quilting Guild. She has already asked quilters to set aside materials so they can begin producing the masks.

The quilters would then make the masks from home and Maslowski would then pick up the completed masks and deliver them to the hospitals and clinics.

While she has received some requests from people interested in buying the masks for their personal use, she is not interested in producing them for this purpose.

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Summerland quilter Brandy Maslowski is prepared to create reusable masks for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed)

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