Volunteers respond to requests for homemade face masks amid COVID-19 shortagesSubmitted: 03/25/2020
Story By Stephen Goin

Volunteers respond to requests for homemade face masks amid COVID-19 shortages
WISCONSIN - Local volunteers are donating their time to sew protective gear for medical providers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Heather Augustyn, of Antigo, is one of those volunteers. She's a member of the Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors Facebook group.

"Part of the reason I guess I feel like this is so important is my mom is an RN [registered nurse]," said Augusytn.

The group was created Saturday and already has more than 250 members. Members of the group have already received thousands of requests from across the state for face masks and medical gowns.

In northcentral Wisconsin, Augustyn said there have been about 400 requests but the need is still growing.

"I've now heard of doctors who have been told, you have to wear this one mask all day long and then you have to reuse it the next day," said Augustyn. "So they are desperate for these things and something is better than nothing."

Emergency responders, nursing homes and health systems like Aspirus and Marshfield Clinic have requested homemade masks from "sewists" like Augustyn.

Terri Wilczek with the Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation said the homemade masks are a big help in a time of crisis. 

"The response was overwhelming, I've been working in philanthropy and fundraising for 20 years and I don't think I've seen anything quite this magnificent," said Wilczek.

Wilczek said the CDC doesn't normally advise homemade masks but now suggests them in certain cases amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

At Marshfield, homemade masks won't be used by doctors or nurses; Wilczek said medical providers will continue to use industry standard PPE. Homemade masks will instead be given to patients and other patrons.

"Our goal is to ensure that every person that walks through our doors is offered a mask," said Wilczek.

The Face Mask Warriors Facebook group is open to anyone who wants to help, not just "sewists." Agustyn said volunteers are also needed to cut fabric and deliver masks to their final destination.

Medical providers looking for homemade masks or gowns can fill out this form.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), face masks are only for those who are sick or those caring for the sick.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


Play Video

FLORENCE - We have updates from Florence, Onconto, and Shawano Counties on the identification of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer species which attacks and kills all true ash species. They have been found in 57 of the 72 counties in Wisconsin.

Public Lands Forester, of Florence County, Tyler Wood explained how the Emerald Ash Borer likes to travel on firewood, to reduce the spread to other places, burn the wood in the same place you bought or gathered it.

"The Emerald Ash Borer can fly easily about a half a mile, and up to maybe 5 miles away from a host tree to find another tree in order to infect that tree," said Wood.

Though there won't be a significant impact on the environment in Florence county, not knowing if your tree is infected could lead to safety concerns around your property or for people with streets lined with the trees, dangerous roadways could occur during storms.

Forest Health Specialist, Linda Williams, spoke about how the future extinction would affect more than just the forest. The MLB uses ash trees to make their baseball bats, as well as the local Native American tribes whos culture traditions create baskets from ash.

"The Emerald Ash Borer will kill the Ash Trees. And we've seen that happening in southern Wisconsin as well as other states that have had it for much longer than us. Other species of trees tend to come into those sites sometimes they are desirable species and some are not," said Williams..

If you are a concerned ash tree owner some signs that your tree has been infested is the outer bark removed by woodpeckers, and D-shaped holes where the insects have emerged.

For people with 10 plus acres you can file a request with the DNR to have a walk through to understand how to manage the Emerald Ash Borer at mywisconsinwoods.org.

+ Read More

MADISON, WIS. (WMTV) -  New confirmed coronavirus cases remain near record levels in Wisconsin with the Department of Health Services recording 2,283 new cases Saturday.

More than 2,000 new cases were reported in Wisconsin for the first time ever Thursday. Shortly after, a state-wide record of 2,533 new positive COVID-19 cases were recorded on Friday.

The DHS recorded 18.3 percent of tests were returned positive Saturday, while the percent positive 7-day average was recorded at 16.4 percent.

With the newest cases included, the total number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin has reached 99,562. The agency reports 13,671 of those cases are still active.

+ Read More

Wisconsin health officials reported 2,533 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide Friday, a new daily record. The old record was 2,034, set on Thursday.

The state has now seen 97,279 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March.

+ Read More

MADISON - The state Department of Workforce Development's top leader resigned Friday after failing to find a way to address a massive backlog of unprocessed unemployment benefit claims sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' office said Caleb Frostman stepped down after the governor called for his resignation. Republicans have peppered Evers with criticism for months over the department's inability to process tens of thousands of benefit claims that have been flowing in since the coronavirus took hold in the U.S. in March.

+ Read More

Play Video

- A lot is happening underwater while Wisconsin is transitioning from summer, to fall, and winter.

But we don't really see those changes. Though we might be getting out of the water, fish can still thrive in the colder temperatures.

DNR Fisheries Supervisor John Kubisiak explains exactly how.

"These fish have been around for millions of years so they've had a long time to deal with these annual temperature cycles of course," Kubisiak said.

In the fall, a lake's temperature gets closer and closer to freezing.

Fish are cold-blooded. Meaning, their environment's temperature controls their body temperature. Kubisiak said the reason why the lake temperature is such a big issue is because that drives their metabolic processes.

How exactly do the fish prepare for the cold weather?

+ Read More

MOSINEE - President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric on cultural issues, aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters as he tries to repeat his path to victory four years ago.

Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump views success in the state's less-populated counties as critical to another term. He held a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of the state.

+ Read More

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students' standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

+ Read More
+ More General News