Racine County Sheriff's Office, volunteers make 2K+ masks for those battling COVID-19

RACINE -- A Racine County Sheriff’s Office-led effort to manufacture more personal protective equipment is resulting in the creation of 2,300 additional facemasks that can be used for local first responders, workers at long-term care facilities, and others on the front lines battling the COVID-19 outbreak.

Beginning Friday, March 20, the sheriff’s office, with assistance from local volunteers, sewing groups, Sew ‘N Save of Racine, and personnel at the state Ellsworth Correctional Facility and Racine County Jail, began coordinating a large sewing project to produce home-sewn masks.

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The sheriff’s office is working with the Racine County Human Services Department and other community partners to prioritize areas in the county where the masks will be deployed.

“The Racine County community continues to step up and help first responders and their fellow residents in their time of need," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling. "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and the tireless efforts of these volunteers and staff will help ensure everyone working on the front lines of this outbreak is as protected as possible."

In addition, the sheriff’s office and public health officials earlier this week called for community members with additional home-made masks and other personal protective equipment items to drop them off at any fire or police station in Racine County. (The 2,300 manufactured facemasks does not include these donations). Besides facemasks, items being accepted include disposable gowns, hand sanitizer, goggles, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Froedtert Hospital has instructions on creating facemasks here.

All donated equipment is sterilized prior to distribution. However, it is still important that no one involved in the creation, distribution or delivery of equipment have any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) or have recently been exposed to anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Sheriff’s Office is currently working with Sew ‘N Save to produce additional gowns.