In less than two weeks, Melissa Erb went from being tagged in a Facebook photo showcasing her handiwork to organizing an operation of over 100 volunteers to create scrub caps, masks and neck straps for workers in Huron County on the front lines against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“My niece is a nurse and she asked me to make her a scrub cap, so I made her a scrub cap and a headband with buttons on the side of that. That’s not a new idea, I can’t take credit for that, but she posted it on my page and immediately I had upwards of 50 requests,” Erb told Global News.
Soon after, a local man who Erb did not identify donated money that she spent on fabric. People then began donating fabric as well as buttons and other sewing notions, prompting Erb to issue a call for volunteers.
They now have over 100 volunteers doing everything from delivery to laundry to sewing.
“We wanted to include as many volunteers as we could and not just people that can sew because everybody wants to help,” Erb explained.
“We caught the eye of Trina Merkel and she owns the Cotton Harvest quilt store in Seaforth and she has generously donated bolts and bolts of fabric to us. We had lots of volunteers that took all that fabric home and washed it and ironed it and cut it and got it ready for our sewers and then lots of people sewed it up,” Erb said.
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“At this point, we have created over 1,600 scrub caps, about 450 masks. We had another team that started to make the straps that go on the back of your head to hold a mask if you didn’t want to wear a scrub cap or your facility didn’t allow you to — we have over 1,600 of those. It’s been an amazing opportunity and the entire community has helped.”
So far, Erb says nearly 1,000 scrub caps, over 250 masks, and over 600 neck straps have been distributed.
“We are hitting every facility in Huron County that will allow us to donate. If their policies are that they can’t use some of our items, that’s totally OK, we just ask that what we have donated gets paid forward to someone else in the health-care community or another front-line worker that is able to use it.”
“It has definitely consumed 13 days of my life since April 1 but it has been fabulous. I’ve met so many great people,” Erb added.
“We will continue as long as we have material and as long as there’s need.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.