Local vet donates surgical masks in exchange for cloth masks, encourages others to do the same

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CARMEL, Ind. – Surgical masks are among the items in short supply for healthcare workers on the front lines fighting coronavirus. Many say they’re forced to reuse these when normally they would go through several in a shift.

Now, a local veterinarian has a mission to get her surgical masks into the hands of those doctors and nurses, and she’s calling on others to do the same. 

“There’s such a shortage, and I know they’re all fearful of what happens when they run out of their inventory,” said Dr. Mary Marcotte, a veterinarian with Cherished Life Animal Rescue in Carmel and Animal Care Alliance in Richmond.

Dr. Marcotte is making cloth masks to give to fellow veterinarians and anyone else who has a supply of surgical masks. In return, she wants them to donate their surgical masks to hospitals and those dealing directly with Covid-19.

“I saw people online saying, ‘Hey if you can sew, sew masks,’” Dr. Marcotte said. “OK, I can do that, I’ve got a sewing machine.”

At her clinic, before a surgery, she noticed her own supply of surgical masks.

“Oh my gosh, look at all those masks sitting up there,” she recalled. “Why don’t we take the cloth ones, and give the rest to the health care workers?”

Dr. Marcotte said surgical masks are on backorder at every distributer she’s contacted. With Indiana’s peak date for coronavirus currently at April 14, she wants others on board with this immediately before they deplete their own stock of surgical masks.

“They are crucial,” she said. “Those surgical masks are far superior at protecting, having a good barrier against the virus than the cloth masks do, so it just makes sense to me to get them as many as possible and we as veterinarians can easily use the cloth.”

For an idea of how far just one cloth mask goes, Dr. Mary said, with one for herself, she was able to donate 500 surgical masks for others.

Dr. Mary has made over 200 cloth masks and wants to get them to the public now. Her goal is at least 500.

Again, the plan is simple: Anyone with surgical masks who’s not on the front lines takes cloth masks instead. You then donate your surgical mask supply to hospitals. Connect with Dr. Mary and her effort at drmary@live.com.

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