Latitude Margaritaville residents help healthcare workers

From News-JournalOnline: “Coronavirus: Margaritaville folks make hundreds of masks for healthcare workers

SMA Healthcare had about 185 medical-grade N95 masks at the start of March. That number has now dropped to 108.

They are not wasting away in Margaritaville.

Instead, residents of the new 55-and-older community have made hundreds of face masks out of fabric and elastic for SMA Healthcare workers who have faced a severe shortage of medical-grade N95 masks.

The effort, led by 63-year-old Margaritaville resident Gloria Hogue, has supplied concerned workers with nearly 800 masks. A group of 40 residents have sewn masks themselves or donated funds or supplies to assist with the effort.

The handmade masks — which feature printed patterns such as polka dots or stars and stripes — are worn across the faces of workers who care for people dealing with addiction, mental health issues or both.

“We’re very grateful to have them,” said Kelly Jenkins-Gregory, director of nursing for SMA Healthcare. She noted that the shortage of personal protective equipment has been a source of fear among many healthcare workers.

SMA Healthcare had about 185 N95 masks at the start of March. That number has now dropped to 108.

The much-needed masks are now used in cases where staff members have to work with a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19. There are no known such cases among SMA Healthcare patients, according to Rhonda Harvey, chief operating officer of the agency.