Seamstresses step up as governor urges universal masking

Blue Ridge School District staffers don face masks while making school lunch deliveries to students.
Blue Ridge School District staffers don face masks while making school lunch deliveries to students.

Before Gov. Tom Wolf urged Pennsylvania residents on Friday to wear face masks when they have to leave their homes, some local residents with sewing skills began making the personal protective wear weeks ago.

After a friend suggested it, Teri Edwards, of Lenoxville, began sewing face masks about three weeks ago and has completed about 300 to date.

“I started with a pattern suggested on the internet but simplified it a bit. I have had many donations of fabric and elastic from the community to help with my cause.  They have been mailed to friends and family all over the country and a Philadelphia hospital,” Edwards said.

She has also taken orders for masks through Facebook. After having taught math at Mountain View High School for 31 years, she is connected to many people in the community.

“Once orders are completed, I put the on a rack outside for pick up in Lenoxville.  I believe that it is the right thing to do when you have the ability and materials,” she said.

Cheryl Dishong also started making masks about a month ago for family and friends, as well as donating some in the community. So far, she has made over 100 and said she has a long list of those requesting a face mask.

April Mroz is part of a group in the Hallstead area that has been sewing masks since March 19. At last count, the group had sewn over 500 and has donated them to health care facilities in the region.

On Friday, Gov.  Tom Wolf said. “Masks help prevent people from sharing illnesses. But, they don’t do a great job at keeping people from getting sick; and, they’re not foolproof, so it is critical that our first act is to ask ourselves if we really need to leave our house. If we don’t really, truly need to leave, then we shouldn’t.”

“Staying home is the most effective way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19,” Sec. of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “But, if you must go out because you are out of food or medication, then wearing a mask, or even a bandana across your nose and mouth, could be an extra layer of protection.”

As of Monday, April 6, there were six positive cases of COVID-19 in Susquehanna County; and nearly 13,000 cases reported across the state.

“Now more than ever, as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and deaths rise in Pennsylvania, we need Pennsylvanians to take action,” Dr. Levine said. “Those actions should be to stay calm, stay home and stay safe. If you must go out, please limit it to as few trips as possible and wear a mask to protect not only yourself, but other people as well. We need all Pennsylvanians to heed these efforts to protect our vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and also our healthcare workers and frontline responders.”

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