OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While many hospitals are dealing with a shortage of personal protective equipment, a local furniture company has decided to switch gears and help.
Oklahoma City-based furniture retailer Mathis Brothers has begun producing cloth face masks in its mattress factory.
“We immediately went to work retooling our mattress factory. Working with the nurses at OU Medical Center, we developed a mask that can be utilized in a number of applications to better protect our frontline doctors and nurses,” Mathis Brothers spokesman Rit Mathis said. “Within just three days, we were able to begin producing over 1,000 masks a day. We are going to continue to ramp up our efforts to give away as many of these masks as possible to our local healthcare system. We feel fortunate to be able to help in this small way in our community.”
This week, OU Medicine and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center received a supply of the masks.
“We are very grateful to Mathis Brothers for this generous donation and the innovative use of their factory equipment to create face masks,” said OU Medical Center President Kris Gose. “Our community and state always rally around those in need when a crisis occurs.”
Officials say they plan to give the donated masks to visitors and patients so that medical personnel can continue using the N95 masks. For added protection, some doctors and nurses will wear the new face masks over their N95 masks.
“We anticipate giving the masks donated by Mathis Brothers first to OU Medicine visitors and patients, whether they are at one of our clinics for a doctor’s appointment or have been admitted to the hospital. This will provide them with another layer of protection,” said Linda Salinas, M.D., epidemiologist for OU Medical Center. “Our healthcare providers can also wear the masks over their N95 masks, which provides additional safety and helps to extend the life of the N95 masks. Because our response to the pandemic is growing and changing, we are grateful to have the extra masks to use as the situation requires.”