Homemade Masks

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Homemade Masks

Friday, March 29, 2019

Supporting Centra Caregivers on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Outbreak

In recent days, we've received an influx of requests from community members that wish to support caregivers at Centra Health with donations of homemade masks.

The outpouring of support is tremendous, and we are humbled by how many are choosing to support our community and organization by making and donating cloth masks. These masks are great symbols of support to our caregivers during this time.

Homemade cloth masks will be given to patients and visitors upon entry in low-risk areas. They may also be used for covering coughs and preventing someone from touching their face. Homemade masks are not considered personal protective equipment (“PPE”) for healthcare providers, since their capability to protect individuals from pathogens, such as COVID-19, is unknown. Caution should be exercised when using homemade masks. Centra currently has the following mask protocols in place in accordance with CDC recommendations: 

  • All Centra caregivers, who have direct contact with patients, will receive a surgical face mask regardless of location
  • All patients coming into our facilities that have symptoms suggestive of possible COVID-19, including cough, will be given a surgical mask
  • All other patients/visitors will receive a cotton face mask
  • All caregivers who are still reporting to a Centra facility for work, even if not patient facing are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering which can consist of homemade cotton masks, handkerchiefs, bandanas or scarfs

We have set up drop-off locations across our region and are partnering with Gleaning for the World who will handle laundering and processing the donations. Mask distribution will be based on locations with the greatest need.  

Drop-off locations with bins clearly marked are located at the following facilities;

  • George and Rosemary Dawson Inn- Front entrance, under the awning
  • Bedford Memorial Hospital- Front entrance, clearly marked in a red bin
  • Southside Community Hospital- Main entrance
  • Gretna Medical Center- Primary care front desk

We’ve received many requests for patterns/templates, so we have provided one below. Also included is a link to a YouTube video tutorial.


Create a template using cardboard/posterboard measuring 9 ½ inches by 15 ½ inches  

  1. Using 100 % cotton, cut out rectangles.  
  2. Fold in half like a book right sides together and sew edges leaving an opening approx. 2 inches.
  3. Trim corners.  
  4. Flip inside out and iron.  
  5. Sew the small opening shut.   
  6. Create two horizontal pleats, pin.  Mask should measure approx. 4 inches from top to bottom.  
  7. Cut 5 inches of thin elastic, 1 for each side.   
  8. Attach the small elastic to the top and bottom of each side.  


Thank you for your support. You can further show your appreciation for Centra Caregivers by posting a message of thanks on social media and using the hashtag #littlethingsbigdifference