Shortage of medical masks for first responders has people donating cloth masks


ST. LOUIS – There is a new alert about the supply of masks for those on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19 in the St. Louis area.  There may not be enough of the medical-grade masks to get through the pandemic.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health announced Monday that an evaluation of its supply of the medical grade masks, including N95 respirators often used in the construction industry, may be too low to make it through the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after a surge in demand for masks after the CDC started recommending people to wear masks in public to hinder the spread of the virus since people may be infected and spread the virus by simply talking to someone without knowing it.  

So, there’s a new push for people to use home-made cloth masks in the St. Louis area and leave the medical grade masks for doctors, nurses, and first responders.  A large majority of shoppers at a large retailer in Maplewood were wearing masks, Monday.  Most of the masks were home-made. 

The CDC offers instructions on how to make masks, sewn and non-sewn. 

If you’d like to donate hand-sewn masks, email:

You can find out more about a Million Mask effort in St. Louis on the group’s Facebook

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