Local woman making masks from home to help fight equipment shortage

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – With the number of coronavirus cases rising, more and more people are wearing protective masks, leaving a nationwide shortage.

Patty Beach of La Crosse realized she had to do something.

“(I) found there was a need for them, and patterns for them, and that they’re just pretty simple to do,” Beach said. “I’ve been just using what I have at home to make them, and now I’ve been trying to get more friends to form a group to make them to donate.”

Beach says she’s already contacted the La Crosse County Health Department to possibly help out.

“They were looking to get a list of names of people that will volunteer to make them or donate them,” Beach said.

La Crosse County Health Department director Jen Rombalski says she is happy people like Beach are being so courteous.

“I am grateful that they have those skills and are willing to help,” Rombalski said.

But she says they are not accepting masks just yet.

“Our goal is that tomorrow, we’re able to provide guidance on what those masks should be made out of,” Rombalski said. “From that point forward, then we will provide additional information about how that coordinated effort will go forward.”

Times are tough right now, but Beach is determined to find more volunteers.

“The more, the merrier,” Beach said. “I think if we have too many it’d be a good thing.”

Because Beach just wants to do her part.

“It makes you feel good,” Beach said. “It makes you feel like you’re helping in some way.”

Beach says she’s made 45 masks inside her house over the past week.

She says you can use any type of solid fabric to make a mask, including cotton and polyester.

The county health department is not accepting masks just yet, but if you are thinking about helping out yourself, just email the health department at covid19@lacrossecounty.org.