As the number of the new coronavirus cases continues to rise, volunteers from California's Rock Church are helping replace the elastic bands on 300,000 N95 masks stored at the County of San Diego’s Medical Operations Center that are beyond the manufacturer’s recommended date.
San Diego’s Medical Operations Center had these masks stored in its warehouse but they could not be given to healthcare workers because they are beyond their manufacturer’s date and need new elastic bands to secure them, the church said in a statement, explaining that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved their use during this pandemic when they are not physically damaged.
“The respirator is still fully functional and meets CDC requirements for usage,” and once the elastic is replaced and tested, the masks will be used by doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and patients across the county.
The replacement elastic is being provided by the Medical Operations Center, the church said.
The volunteer effort, in partnership with San Diego County’s Office of Emergency Services, could save the county $1 million, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
The volunteers, all of whom are older than 18 and started replacing the elastic bands last Wednesday, have gone through a health screening and are practicing social distancing.
Rock Church pastor Miles McPherson said that volunteers will work for two to three weeks at its locations in Point Loma, City Heights, El Cajon and San Marcos. “It’s really just a matter of coming alongside, giving the most practical help we can give. This is an honor to help nurses and doctors,” he said.
The Rock Church received a waiver to gather the boxes of masks from San Diego County for this project “because it is considered essential to the medical industry,” the church said.
Many Christians are helping their communities and local authorities fight the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Recently, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a Christian, donated $5 million to fund charities to prepare and deliver 10,000 meals a day throughout the state of Louisiana.
In Minnesota, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell recently said his company is making tens of thousands of masks each day as their workers have converted a 200,000-square-foot factory into a facility to produce masks for medical workers.
Lindell, who is also a Christian, said his company was working with the Trump administration and received information on the design and materials needed to make the masks.
MyPillow has been making 50,000 face masks per day for healthcare workers and others at no cost during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Tuesday, there were more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus worldwide and over 76,400 people had died, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Research Center. In the United States, the number of cases stood at over 368,500 with more than 11,000 deaths.
In San Diego, there were 1,404 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 19 deaths as of Friday.