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Homemade masks aren't PPE but can still be used to help during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

Many Mainers are helping out by making masks for our front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homemade masks aren't PPE, but can still be helpful.

MAINE, USA — Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

The demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic keeps growing here in Maine and nationwide.

Many people are looking for ways to help, some are making masks and others are using their connections to get masks from overseas. 

"We've been working on trying to get PPE since probably January," Mary Prybylo, president at Saint Joseph's Hospital said.

She said the Greater Bangor community is stepping up to help front line workers.

"We have a donation box that's out front and people are continuing to drop off supplies," Prybylo said.

Another group that is working hard to get masks to their community is the Bangor Chinese School.

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"So as a member of the community we have an obligation to do as much as we can. That's our obligation," Jing Zhang, Director of Bangor Chinese School said.

The Bangor Chinese School is getting personal protective equipment and distributing it to local hospitals as well as essential workers like police and mailmen.

Zhang said in China, people are being told to wear masks at all times.

Dr. James Jarvis at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center says just because you're wearing a mask, doesn't mean you don't have to follow the CDC social distancing guidelines.

"I will say that the reason you're hearing about it now particularly at the government level about possibly requiring or asking you to mask is really to help people remember to keep their hands away from their face when they're out in the community and to practice social distancing," Jarvis said.

Hospitals across the state continue to accept donations of both cloth and N-95 masks as well as gloves, gowns, hand sanitizers, and other supplies.

Zhang said she is now working on getting some N95 masks for the greater Bangor community.

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist

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