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San Diegans are making homemade masks for people in need

Hospitals may not be able to use them, but the CDC is open to the idea of homemade masks as a last resort.

SAN DIEGO — Across the world and right here in San Diego County, there is a shortage of masks to protect our health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Several San Diegans are making masks to donate to anyone in need.  News 8 spoke to several health care providers in San Diego who said that right now, they are not accepting homemade masks, but they do applaud the effort and support for the health care community. 

Erin Nelson is a dental hygienist in Rancho Penasquitos.

"You are home from work and you're busy?"  I asked. 

Erin said, "I am very busy."

Last week, her mother sent her a video from JoAnn Fabrics that shows people across America how to sew homemade masks. 

"So I busted out a sewing machine I've never used, taught myself how to sew overnight, and we are making masks for the health care workers," said Erin.

Erin made her own how-to video to inspire other San Diegans to pitch in. She said if hospitals run out of N95 masks and other surgical masks, these could be useful. 

Credit: Erin Nelson

Since she works in a dental office, she can sterilize each one. Her masks are made out of double-sided cotton. 

"It will help with sneezes, coughs, and things where droplets are going to be released," she said.  

Credit: Dr. Patrick Linson

Erin's not alone. Mia Linson, a teenager in Carlsbad, is also sewing away. Her father is a doctor at Scripps Health Care. I also spoke to Claudia Biezunski.

"It's the least I can do in a scary time, you know," said Claudia.

She is the owner of Sew Loka in Barrio Logan. She said her super power is sewing, so she and her super-sewers have teamed up to make 400 masks and counting.  Claudia said sewing is her super power, so she and her super-sewers are making these for the Alpha Project.

"I've never doubted my community. I've always felt like my community -  they had always had my back. So, in a time like this, it is only fair for me to step up my game," said Claudia.

As for Erin Nelson, her daughter, Isabella, is helping out, along with their neighbor, Amy, in the chance that as a last resort, homemade masks will be needed to keep our doctors and nurses safe.

"These [people] are who are essentially risking their lives to be able to treat us and make sure we are healthy and safe," said Erin.  

Some of the masks are being donated to grocery store workers. 

Erin said if you like to join the effort, you can email her at Sewing Away.

Editors note for clarification: Health care providers do not want people to donate homemade masks to hospitals. They are not accepting them at this time. What they are accepting are professional-grade masks, food, and money.

Many of the homemade masks featured in this story are being donated to grocery store workers.

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