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Volunteers take on mask shortage

MOAB, Ut. – Like many hospitals across the country, doctors at Utah's Moab Regional Hospital are facing growing shortages in medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, dozens of women are taking social distancing a step further and working to stitching together emergency face masks and gowns for those on the outbreak’s front lines.

Tammy Norman said she temporarily closed her business that caters to the tourism industry on Tuesday as part of efforts to avoid social interactions and slow the spread of COVID19.

“I didn’t want to sit at home for 15 days. I called my friend and said, ‘what do you need help with?’” Norman said, adding her friend is the director of purchasing and supplies at the Moab Regional Hospital.

As the friends talked, they realized Norman might be able to help the hospital, which has been rationing face masks to make up for industrywide shortages. Doctors said they won’t get their next shipment until August 1.

“By that evening we had two-to-three different prototypes,” Norman said of the fabric face masks that are safe for doctors to use. The final prototype included a lining where a coffee filter can be inserted and replaced.