COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The product development team at Rogue Fitness in Columbus is now totally focused on items needed by the medical community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These range from simple items like masks and face shields to complicated items like powered air-purifying respirators,” said spokesman Rico Martinez in an email.
Martinez said Rogue is working closely with OhioHealth and the State of Ohio and the company plans to hire 100 additional employees to help ramp up production.
On a much smaller scale, Cat Hiller is sewing face masks in her Upper Arlington home.
“We have the materials and we have the time,” Hiller said. “So if this can help even a little bit, I feel good about spending time on it.”
Anita Gastaldo, owner of Sew to Speak in Worthington, says her customers are sewing face masks and dropping them off in a bin outside her store.
“They want to do something,” Gastaldo said. “They want to feel like they’re helping, so I’m the one that gets to help them help and that makes me feel good.”
Gastaldo says they’re not sure how effective the masks are but believes anything is better than nothing.
The guidance from the Centers for Disease Control said homemade masks can be used as a last resort and preferably in conjunction with a plastic face shield.
“There are some designs that you can put a filter in so those are the ones that we’re preferring but we’ll take anything,” Gastaldo said. “We have connections to some doctors and some other facilities that are taking masks.”
Josie Wills owns The Fashion Factory in Richwood, Ohio. She’s normally designing gowns for contestants in the Miss USA pageant and for other high profile events.
Last week, Wills started producing face masks and now, she says, she’s designing gowns for doctors and nurses to use on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We’ve extended that to more of the hazmat suits, the shoe covers, the pants, the shirts, the jackets,” Wills said.
And JoAnn Fabrics is offering guidance to anyone who wants to help make protective masks and gowns. The company announced that participating locations “will offer sewing machines, materials and guidance to help customers safely make facemasks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to America’s hospitals.”
The company said it will provide and donate 100 percent of the supplies needed for these projects for those who come in to make them.