ORLANDO, Fla. — A Central Florida group is sewing innovative face masks from recycled material to provide them to local hospitals.
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Andrea Ruiz-Hays, founder of Eco Strategies Group, and a team are creating face masks from Halyard H-600, a thick blue medical fabric.
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“This fabric is utilized in surgery prep,” Ruiz said. “It is part of the sterilization process instruments go through.”
The medical fabric is typically thrown out after use, but then the University of Florida Health anesthesiology team devised face mask prototypes using the material.
“We’re now creating masks per that prototype for Orlando Health,” Ruiz said. “They give us the Halyard 600 material, and we make the masks.”
Ruiz said her team of 25 volunteers can create up to 50 face masks a day. They're then dropped off at the hospital, where the masks are sterilized.
“This is reusable, whereas some other masks can’t go through that sterilization process and need to be disposed of. (This) is where the value comes in,” Ruiz said.
On its website, O&M Halyard states it cannot recommend the use of any of its products off-label, nor can it facilitate the purchase of products for off-label use.
Ruiz said she would like to give her face masks to other hospitals and clinics.
She said more people who can sew are needed to help make more of these masks. Anyone can sign up on a Facebook group she created called the Million Mask Challenge.