Valley sewing business making medical masks for healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic

While the CDC now telling people to wear a mask when they go out in public, masks remain in short supply.

A local business, however, is helping to meet demand.

Sew Sweet Angel Gowns makes bereavement gowns for infants, and the company is now making medical masks for healthcare professionals that could be even better than N95, which is considered to be the golden standard for masks.

It all started after a Valley doctor friend of one of the seamstresses asked if her group could turn medical fabric into personal protection masks. Now, a couple dozen seamstresses across the Valley are creating novel medical grade masks for Phoenix hospitals, out of material used to sanitize surgical tools.

According to doctors, the fabric is rated N99, which is better than N95 masks.

"This mask is a tighter fit than the cloth mask," said Debbie Sinfield, Co-Founder of Sew Sweet Angel Gowns. "We put a piece of wire in it for a tighter fit, and tighter around the cheek and under the chin."

In preparation for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks, Valley hospitals are telling doctors to sterilize and re-use their N95 masks. In normal times, masks would hae been thrown out after a single use.

Doctors say even non-medical masks can help prevent the spread, as many carriers of COVID-19 don’t know they have it.

"If I’m asymptomatic, I have no symptoms, but I’m a carrier, and I say why should I wear a mask I’m not coughing?" said Dr. Frank Lovecchio, an emergency physician with Valleywise Medical Center. "When I’m talking to you, I release droplets. When I speak, those droplets might come in contact with you, and from what we know now is asymptomatic carriers are the ones that are spreading it."

"Just going to crank them out until they tell us to stop," said Sinfield.

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