By March 24, 2020 Read More →

Coronavirus Update: Tri-State community bands together to provide protective equipment for frontline workers

By HANNA PENNINGTON, The Herald-Dispatch of Huntington

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — In the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, healthcare professionals and those on the front lines of the fight against the disease are receiving assistance from community organizations banding together to help produce personal protective equipment (PPE) from their homes.

“Thursday, I started really worrying,” said Suzanne Strait, a Marshall University professor who is spearheading the “West Virginia Mask Army” initiative. “I teach anatomy, and I’ve taught over 6,000 students in this area. I knew a lot of those people were going to be those front-line workers right now, and it really scared and upset me. But I woke up Friday morning and decided to stop freaking out and do something.”

Over the weekend, Strait partnered with two former students, Patricia Rogers and Dr. Rose Ayoob, as well as Hilary Brewster from Marshall’s English department, to form the organization, which calls on skilled sewers to help make surgical masks from high-end furnace filters.

“Everybody is making cotton masks, but I wanted something for people at the front lines, we were looking for a step-up,” Strait said. “We came up with a novel design made out of furnace filters — we now have $4,500 worth of furnace filters — and we are looking for an army to sew.” …

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