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Couple in Manitou Springs craft masks to combat shortages caused by COVID-19

Homemade masks

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Healthcare workers are now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak, but supplies to protect themselves are now running low.

The Centers for Disease Control said healthcare workers who can't get a mask should use a bandana or scarf as a 'last resort' as supplies run short.

It's why James Vandiveer and his wife, Kat, set up their own makeshift assembly line in Manitou Springs to create protective face shields.

"We need to get these in their hands before we run out because our frontline medical workers are the most important people in the country right now to help stop the spread of this virus," he said.

They've done their research to make sure they're using fabrics that are safe and ensuring the masks are up to CDC guidelines.

"SILVADUR, that's sewn to the outer layer and this is the inner layer of muslin. It has SILVADUR embedded in the fabric and the silver is anti-bacterial in nature. Whatever lands on it doesn't tend to survive very long. It was the best thing I could find online for anti-bacterial sort of cloth," Vandiveer said.

Their goal is now to help supply protection for people in health care, while also providing jobs for making and selling masks to people who have lost their jobs because of the virus.

While not all hospitals take the homemade masks, the couple has has partnered with a local radiology company who does and they're asking the community for help.

"A lot of people are at home, maybe not working. Perhaps they have time to help with this effort. We have some limited ability to employ these people and I've already employed 2 people to assist with production and sales. These are people who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus crash," he said.

It's an effort to stitch the community together, in a time when everyone seems so far apart.

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Alexis Dominguez

Alexis is a reporter for KRDO and Telemundo Surco. Learn more about Alexis here.


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