TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The idea to create masks similar to the N95 mask came from the staff at Southeastern Plastic Surgery, and they've already created more than 500 masks to give away.
The process for creating the masks is similar to an assembly line.
"People have to cut things out, and then we sew all different parts of it, and then we actually build it," said physician's assistant Kristen Costa.
Since surgery centers are restricted to essential patients, Dr. Ben Kirbo, Southeastern Plastic Surgery, said his staff has more time on their hands.
"With the encouragement of the staff, they began to produce these masks for other healthcare providers," said Dr. Kirbo.
Creating the masks means some employees are also learning a new trade, sewing.
"We've each had a chance to learn and I think that's been neat, too," said Costa. "So, we've all picked up skills. People who have never sewn before are like, "I have this thing in a box and I think I know how to use it!" So it's been kind of neat that way."
The material used to make the masks is the same the staff uses to sterilize their instruments that are typically used during surgery.
"So, since we're not doing our elective surgery right now, we've got a little bit more time to utilize that," said Costa. "The University of Florida Anesthesiology Department, they came with the idea behind it, and found that they are just as good if not better than the N95 mask."
"The nature of healthcare providers is to help," said Dr. Kirbo.
The center also said it only takes about 15 minutes to create one mask.