CA volunteers make homemade masks for more than 150 hospitals nationwide as supplies run low

Coronavirus
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As testing for the novel coronavirus increases, L.A. County still faces shortages of other supplies like masks, gloves and swabs, according to officials and outraged nurses.

Volunteers from across California have committed to sewing homemade masks to help hospital workers meet the demand until government aid arrives.

Alexa Magyari, a health economics PhD student at UC Berkeley, is coordinating efforts to get the masks to hospitals that accept them.

Magyari came up with the idea Friday to make a database for hospitals that are accepting the homemade masks, after seeing people in crafting groups making masks and wondering where to send them.

So the 26-year-old started calling hospitals across the state.

Initially many hospitals said they were not accepting the masks, but as the hours went on, more and more said yes because the demand for protective equipment was increasing substantially, Magyari said.

The masks won’t be used for people treating coronavirus patients.

“These masks are being used for patients in waiting rooms… for patients and caregivers in other hospital departments,” Magyari told KTLA Monday. “That frees up the typical surgical masks for those that are working specifically with COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19 patients.”

She now has a team of 19 UC Berkeley students and other volunteers — who she says she deeply vets — working with her.

More than 150 hospitals across the country are accepting the handmade masks from Magyari and her team.

She has compiled a list of the accepting hospitals and is updating the document with any others who contact her.

Earlier Monday, nurses on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic gathered at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in East Hollywood to voice their outrage at being ill-equipped with a lack of protective masks and equipment.

“We are being stripped of everything we need to be safe, to protect ourselves, our patients and then to go home to our families,” Allesha Jeffries, a Kaiser nurse, said.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday that hospitals across the county can soon expect to receive about a quarter million N95 masks as the Sheriff’s Department worked on delivering a shipment to a medical supply hub in Long Beach.

KTLA’s Alexandria Hernandez contributed to this article.

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