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Fighting virus one mask at a time

ANTOINETTE CONNELL, [email protected]

Fighting virus one mask at a time

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A 67-year-old woman who has been isolating herself so she will not contract COVID-19, has been using her time to help those on the frontline fighting the disease.

Theresa Chandler, who is in the high-risk category when it comes to the coronavirus, spent the last week toiling away at her machine making masks to help protect the doctors and other health care providers.

Chandler estimated that she has made close to 500 so far but as her mask-making material runs out, that will be it for the time being. The material and elastic were donated by Abeds but, explained Chandler, the store was now closed.

“I am very happy to do it. It is needed and I know it is greatly appreciated. We have to be our brother’s keeper and I am happy to contribute and do my bit,” she told the DAILY NATION.

COVID-19, a strain of the coronavirus, has been spreading across the world. In Barbados, the country went under an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and a shutdown of all non-essential businesses from March 28 in an effort to halt the spread. The restrictions are scheduled to be lifted from April 15 when business returns to normal.


Chandler has been cut off from her normal everyday chores and contact for about three weeks at the urgings of her protective family. However, she spent the last week making and donating the protective items after her daughter Raquel Cozier threw out the idea to her.

“I told her ‘sure’ and I have been on my machine for a week and a day. Last night [Sunday] I finished about 10 o’clock,” said the retired drapery maker and upholsterer.

Her day can start as early as 5 a.m.

Cozier, who collected the material, said she sourced information on the masks from the Centre for Disease Control website and while her mother made them, her role was to wash them in an antibacterial detergent, line dry and steam iron them before packaging for donation to the departments at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to health care providers.

Those on the receiving end of the kind gesture had been responding with messages of appreciation, said Cozier.

“We love our people, we love our island and we can’t think of a better way to help. This is definitely a labour of love,” she said of the effort.

Cozier said she wished more people would heed the call to stay home, and appealed to residents to follow the restrictions imposed to halt the spread of COVID-19. “This is time you get to be home with family. You don’t get to be with family like this.”

She suggested reading, exercising and online activities to help. (AC)