MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WCSC) - Georgetown County residents are being asked by their local hospital system to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus through sewing.
Murrells Inlet-based Tidelands Health, which operates Georgetown Memorial Hospital and several medical centers on the Grand Strand, put out an “urgent appeal” on Tuesday afternoon seeking volunteers who can sew.
The health care organization revealed that it has thousands of N95 respirators in its warehouse that were purchased during a previous emergency but never utilized. However, the elastic straps on the respirators "have become brittle over time" and must be replaced, according to Tidelands Health.
Residents who enjoy sewing can volunteer to install new elastic straps on the respirators, which will then be disinfected and used by medical staff for protection during aerosolizing procedures.
"Like health care organizations around the nation, Tidelands Health is facing a shortage of N95 respirators," the organization wrote in a prepared statement. "If the straps on the respirators can be replaced, the health system’s supply will be extended by several weeks. The CDC has provided guidance that it is acceptable to use older but never-used N95s."
Those interested in providing assistance should not visit their local hospital. Instead, volunteers should call 1-866-TIDELANDS or sign up online.
“If you can sew, we need you," said Chief Nursing Officer Pam Maxwell. "We’re asking you to please help us as we work to care for you.”