Coronavirus: How to make and donate masks to local hospitals

Across the Miami Valley, people and companies are doing what they can to help health care workers get the masks and other protective supplies they need.

Figuring out what to make and how to share it has been more difficult, with varying information worldwide. If you’ve got masks or other protective equipment to donate, now the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association is making it easier to help.

Anyone with masks can donate them at the St. Vincent De Paul center, at 945 S. Edwin C. Moses Drive. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Reid Health is also accepting donations at their main entrance from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, where screeners will meet you at your vehicle door. The organization asks that you bring a donation form, available here.

There are two kinds of masks needed. The first, a basic surgical mask that can be made at home, is intended primarily for those who are sick to wear, in order to keep from infecting others. It can offer some protection to health care workers, too, but not at the level of the other kind of mask needed, often referred to as an N95 mask.

To make homemade face masks, there is research about what is best, and click here for videos showing sewing pattern.

For N95 masks, there is a need locally for materials. GDAHA says, “Montgomery County has a stockpile of never-used N-95 masks that need repair to bring them into compliance. Donations of thread, one-fourth-inch elastic, and gallon sized baggies are needed to repair these N-95 masks to bring them into compliance.”

The centralized locations will help all of the area hospitals manage donations efficiently, and GDAHA can store, launder and distribute the materials to hospitals that need them.

That coordination is important for local hospitals. Premier Health, on its website with ways to help, says:

"To ensure your safety and the appropriate utilization of all donated resources, we ask that you please coordinate offers for assistance in advance by emailing us at Our team will be happy to provide additional guidance for those who wish to provide support. We ask that you do NOT drop donations off directly at hospital entrances, emergency departments, or physician office locations. We thank you so much for thinking of us and for being part of our Premier family."

In Richmond, Reid Health posted this statement: "We so appreciate the many offers from the community for hand-made face masks. Reid Health is now accepting these donations as a way to provide contingencies because of national supply issues with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We will ensure they are laundered per infection control standards and then made available for use by our team and other community organizations should the need arise. We will follow the CDC guidelines for using cloth masks in a time of crisis." Click here to learn more about donating to Reid Health and community organizations they are assisting.

At Mary Rutan Hospital, donations of face masks and other PPE can be dropped off at the main entrance of Mary Rutan Hospital's Logan View location, at 110 Dowell Avenue in Bellefontaine (between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm). Mary Rutan officials say, "We appreciate the outpouring of interest to provide homemade masks for our community healthcare partners and professionals who continue to serve vulnerable patients and community members." The hospital points out the fabric masks are not to be used for the care of COVID-19 patients, "according to the CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted."

At Wilson Health in Sidney, they are in need of N95 and standard procedure/isolation/droplet masks and also needs face shields, sanitizers, and wipes.

“Numerous businesses, organizations, youth clubs and the general public continues to show support with making donations to help support the hospital and our healthcare teams during this time,” Wilson Health officials told News Center 7. Wilson Health donations can be dropped off Mon. Fri. between 8 a.m. 5 p.m. at the main campus main entrance (Door 1). Enter the first set of double doors and there is a dropbox for donations. The address is 915 W. Michigan Street in Sidney, Ohio. If you can help, contact or call 937-498-2311.

If you’d like to donate to the Dayton VA Medical Center, you can call 937-262-2162 for information.

The response to the need has been strong here in the Miami Valley, as individuals have offered to coordinate production through social media groups, including facebook and NextDoor.

Groups like the Dayton Sewing Collaborative have also sprung into action, making masks for organizations who may need them, including health care workers, but also veterinarians, homeless shelters, senior facilities and others who may have a need. Those organizations can request masks, and volunteers can learn how to help, by clicking here to go to their website.

There is also a need for other protective equipment, including face masks. A Richmond, Indiana company worked to reconfigure their production to create plastic facemasks for Reid Health and others. Innovative Sterilzation Technologies, a Miami Valley company, says it is donating a half-million filters that can be used as an alternative resource for PPE.

Wright State University donated more than 250 boxes of surgical masks, gowns, gloves and other items were to local hospitals from the Wright State University College of Nursing and Health. "We donated what we had available in the labs," said Molly Mellon, director of The Nursing Learning Resource Center at the College of Nursing and Health, in a statement.

Friday, seven hospital beds in storage in St. Marys were donated to Mercer Health in Coldwater. Tri Star Career Compact, a vocational school that serves school districts in Mercer and Auglaize counties, made the donation. The beds were in storage as surplus used in the School’s medical program before moving to a new career center recently near Celina.

The beds area expected to be used in a tent hospital erected this week on the grounds of Mercer Health Community Hospital in Coldwater in preparation for a possible surge in COVID-19 illnesses in Mercer County.

The CDC has also provided guidance for how to manage with a shortage of masks. You can read that guidance by clicking here.

If you know of people or companies in the Miami Valley who are helping healthcare workers with masks or equipment, please let us know on our WHIO Facebook page.

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