Cayuga Health Taking the Lead to Make Masks

Volunteers and Equipment Needed


Contact: John Turner, Vice President, Public Relations 

Cayuga Health 

(607) 274-4498 

March 25, 2020 Ithaca, New York –– Cayuga Health (CH) started making masks earlier this week and are looking for individuals to help out both in person and at home. Volunteers need to sign up in advance so a schedule can be made. Contact information is below.

“We have learned through our surgical blanket project, that our sewing community is vast, and know there will be a critical need to get masks to front line medical staff, not only in our community but to those surrounding us,” stated Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. “Those who are able can sign up to help make masks that will be used in our OR. Those who are unable to leave their homes can also help by sewing masks at home. The CDC has declared homemade masks acceptable in times of crises. Our team will provide the mask pattern and specifications.”

Production is taking place at Cornell University, Bartels Hall in the side basketball court.  Sewing began on Tuesday March 24th and will continue daily Monday through Friday from 8am – 3pm, until no longer needed

There are many volunteer positions available and several things that can be provided to aid the volunteers. 

Specific requests include:

  • Sewing volunteers that are able to bring personal sewing machines or make masks at home.
  • Four (4) to aide in the supply of materials and packing masks to be sent back to the hospital daily into the supply chain at both Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center. Patterns are being cut from blue wrap from surgical instruments being upcycled.
  • Sewing machines, rotary cutter with extra blade, cutting ruler, sewing needles (size 90), all-purpose sewing thread, pipe cleaners.

“The material we are using for the masks is surgical wrapping, the same material we use to make warm blankets for area residents in need, “ states Carol O’Driscoll RN, BSN, BS and Sr. Director Perioperative Services, Cayuga Medical Center. “The surgical wraps are 4-by-4-foot sheets used to heat sterilize surgical instruments. They are durable, waterproof and sterile and they don’t come in contact with patients.”

To sign up to volunteer, contact Crystal Barkman 607-274-4331 or Michelle Vallake 607-274-4535. An email has also been established for this project: that anyone can reach out to with questions about the project and volunteering at either their home or Cornell.


About Cayuga Health 

Cayuga Health (CH) has two hospitals, Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital, as well as a multi-specialty group, Cayuga Medical Associates. Combined employment, including affiliated organizations, is over 2,200 employees. CHS is clinically linked to Mayo Medical Laboratories, Rochester Regional Health for cardiac services, Roswell Park for cancer services, and the University of Rochester for neurosciences. 

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