Mother-daughter duo make masks mission

Emma Nozell, left, and her mother, Wendy Thomas have worked to organize a mask-sewing effort to help make and distribute about 3,000 mask for medical providers and Merrimack residents amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

MERRIMACK – Personal protective equipment, also know as PPE, has been hard to come by for medical professionals as New Hampshire has battled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only are supplies running low for those on the front lines of this medical crisis, but it’s also become nearly impossible for those outside the medical field to have any access to protective masks. That’s where a mother-daughter duo from Merrimack come in. They knew of this need and decided to do something about it.

“My daughter Emma Nozell and I have organized the Merrimack Mask sewing effort group in Merrimack,” said Wendy Thomas. “Through an army of volunteers in the town, we have made and distributed about 3,000 masks at no cost to medical providers and Merrimack residents.

She said they also have collected medical supplies to donate to area hospitals and physicians.

The CDC reports recent studies shows that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity, for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing, even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

The CDC reports it is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. The CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

“We have about a dozen people working on headbands and printing elastic extenders that help to save delicate ear tissue,” Thomas explained. “We will help to continue providing masks at no cost for as long as there is a need for them.”

Thomas is a New Hampshire state representative for Hillsborough County District 21. She also is a member of the Hillsborough County Executive Committee and executive director of The New Hampshire Challenge.