Hampton business adds medical masks to its manufacturing list

Trib logo Patrick Varine

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 7:11 AM

Rose Morris got a call over the weekend from a friend whose husband owns a Pittsburgh-area hospice.

“He was at a point where he was running out of his protective medical equipment and was not able to find more to purchase,” Morris said.

Morris owns Abram’s Nation in Hampton . It manufactures a specialized bed called “The Safety Sleeper,” for children and adults with special needs.

And they are made using medical-grade fabric.

“It’s a heavy-duty polyester,” Morris said. “It’s not a respirator or N95-grade. But it’s a wicking fabric, and it’s antimicrobial as well as breathable. I told (Bethany Hospice’s owner) that I had this fabric and I’d see what I could do.”

For the past three days, what she’s done is use the fabric to create medical masks, initially for Bethany Hospice, but Morris said she is hoping to distribute them more widely.

“I’ve had other people asking for them,” she said.

Morris is also seeking volunteers to help partially sew the masks, and after watching how some other volunteers and groups are making them, she set out to develop an improved method.

“We’re pre-cutting them, and we’re asking volunteers to sew it to a certain point and then return it, so we can bind it and have it attach in a way that will allow people to get a nice tight fit, as opposed to using elastic straps.”

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine has said health care workers working directly with covid-19 patients should be using N95 masks, which protect wearers from airborne particles and liquids. Levine said homemade masks aren’t “super effective in protecting people, but I guess it’s better than nothing.”

Morris acknowledged Levine’s advice.

“I haven’t done any testing on this. It’s only three days in at this point,” she said. “But these are machine washable. You can wash them in hot water. I’m not saying anything other than I’m willing to help people have a little peace of mind and a little protection.”

Her goal was to help those in the everyday medical community, who are not on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic and are unable to get the type of protective equipment they may need.

“If we can help people at that level so that the frontline folks who are dealing with covid-19 cases can have access to N95, that’s our hope,” Morris said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help manufacture the masks is asked to email medicalmasks@abramsnation.com.