RANDOLPH — Katie Kelley and Angela Brown, residents of this small town, have been voluntarily sewing cotton protective masks that could be used, if needed, by the Androscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin.
And they're quite colorful.
Kelley, an independent consultant who works from home, started the effort after learning of the need from AVH Physical Therapy Manager Clare Fox.
Although Coos County is currently the only county in the state to not have a COVID-19 case, Fox is planning ahead.
“I cut out 100 masks from quilt scraps I brought home from the Midwest after my mother, an avid quilter, died a year ago on March 25,” Kelley said,
“Angela took about 40 squares and made them up. I gave AVH the 60 I sewed, all of which I made on my mother’s sewing machine.
"It was a wonderful way to honor her this week. There’s still a need, so I may cut up more.”
“The materials I used came from Katie. It was a cooperative effort between neighbors to create these masks for AVH,” said Brown, whose husband is a physician there.
An at-large member of the Gorham Randolph Shelburne Cooperative School Board, Brown is a therapeutic musician who serves on the N.H. State Council on the Arts.
“Sources for face mask patterns abound on Facebook and hospital websites, including AVH’s own Facebook page,” she noted.
“An easy-to-follow video is available from Deaconess Hospital online at the website of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.”
Brown then cautioned: “No one should sew masks who is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or who believes they have been exposed to a patient who does."
AVH could use more face masks. They can be dropped off in a sealed plastic bag at the back entrance at AVH, according to AVH spokesman James Patry. Individuals can call ahead at (603) 752-2200 and be met at curbside.
“A challenge for us here at AVH is for everyone to understand that not everyone entering or calling AVH will be tested for COVID-19,” Patry said.
“All health-care facilities are limited in the number of test kits they’ve been given. Not everyone meets the symptom criteria. Individuals should call their primary care provider to determine if testing is truly necessary.
Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster also is welcoming donations of homemade fabric face masks. But it is asking that donations not be taken directly to the hospital or to its clinics.
Instead, they should be taken to the Lancaster Ambulance Bay at 19 Mechanic St. in Lancaster, across from the fire station, placed in a resealable plastic bag and dropped off at a bin located outside the bay. The masks will be collected each day and delivered to the hospital.
All donors should attach their names, addresses and phone numbers so a thank you email can be sent.