Area medical students make face coverings to distribute to underserved areas

NOW: Area medical students make face coverings to distribute to underserved areas

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) - New guidelines from the CDC released Friday say people should wear a cloth face covering when going out in public to limit spreading coronavirus. Now, area medical students are doing their part to help those most at risk in the community.

The Medical College of Wisconsin says roughly 80,000 face coverings are being made by students that will be distributed to the Milwaukee area. Doctors say the face coverings are made of surgical mask material and the students are social distancing while making them.

Dr. Raymond with Medical College of Wisconsin says Milwaukee’s north and south side have some of the highest concentrations of coronavirus cases.

“One of the problems is many of the areas of the city that have the highest instance of COVID-19 may not have access to these cloth coverings,” says Dr. Raymond.

Sojourner Family Peace Center is currently housing dozens of people, and says the need is there.           

“They’re food insecure, they’re under-employed or unemployed and so when stress goes up in life you know it’s difficult for our clients, and so the face coverings is something we’d want to distribute,” says Carmen Pitre, President and CEO of Sojourner Family Peace Center.

More than 4,000 coverings were spread to area community health clinics on Monday—and more will be distributed to community agencies this week.

“To some of the under resourced communities, to faith-based organizations and community organizations,” adds Dr. Raymond.

The CDC recommends people wear face coverings when going out in public. It’s meant to limit spread by catching droplets when the person wearing it talks, sneezes or coughs.

“The cloth might also provide protection to you if you’re wearing the covering,” said Dr. Raymond. “But that’s not the primary rationale.”

The coverings also provide other benefits to those in need.

“I think psychologically it makes people feel better, it makes people feel like they’re contributing and practicing good healthy behavior to help us all get out of this pandemic,” adds Pitre.

”Signaling that you’re serious about social distancing and it also could serve as a sign of solidarity in other words we’re all in this together,” says Dr. Raymond.  

Dr. Raymond says if you plan on making a face covering the best fabric to use is tight weave cotton. He says the CDC specifically mentions cloth face coverings, because N-95, surgical masks and face shields should be saved for healthcare workers.

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