SANTA CRUZ—Medical Professionals working for the Santa Cruz County Health Department—which has been grappling with low supplies of Personal Protective Equipment due to the Covid-19 epidemic—got a boost Monday with a donation from the Pajaro Valley Quilt Association (PVQA).
Volunteers from that organization—45 in all, along with 10 community volunteers—sewed more than 250 reusable gowns to help protect medical professionals and support staff.
“We’re all proud members of our Santa Cruz County community, and we’re more than willing to step up and help out,” said PVQA member Lori Camner, who led the efforts along with member Helen Klee.
The fabric came from donated sheets from 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley, a conference center that has been largely closed due to the pandemic.
The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center (OEC) will distribute the gowns to local medical offices. They will be used in place of medical-grade isolation gowns in lower-risk settings, since medical gowns remain in short supply, said David Harnish, a volunteer from the OEC who helped coordinate those efforts.
“There has been a shortage,” Harnish said. “You can’t just go out and buy them. This was a great effort, and it is about as sustainable and reusable as can be.”
Santa Cruz-based Community Printers re-purposed a sign-cutting machine to cut the fabric patterns, and PVQA volunteers then sewed all the pre-cut fabric into gowns, said Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin.
PVQA previously made more than 150 reusable gowns for distribution to rehabilitation, senior care and other facilities.
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors will be recognizing PVQA and 1440 Multiversity at an upcoming meeting, among other major donors and volunteers providing public support during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hoppin said.