The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

However, take a look around you and you'll see all sorts of "protective masks." You'll see everything from real medical-grade face coverings to SpongeBob SquarePants bandanas.

If you're not sure what works best, and/or what's easiest to make and maintain:

The Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center is asking the community to help them by making and donating masks. If you are interested in making masks, please follow the guidance provided by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Nebraska Medical Center. If you would like to donate masks, please email them at to be added to their contact list for information about when and where to donate them.

Here's what the Minnesota Department of Health says about designing/making your own protective masks:

  • Build a mask that tightly encloses the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extending onto the cheek beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when talking or moving.
  • Use mask material that is tightly woven but breathable. Possibly double-layer the fabric.
  • Masks must be made from washable material such as fabric. Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures and bleach without shrinking or otherwise deforming.
  • The mask should be tolerant of expected amounts of moisture from breathing.
  • Suggested materials- outer layer tea cloth, inner layer of a microfleece to wick away moisture, and an inner tea cloth layer. Use an accordion fold to mimic a hospital mask as much as possible and use a fat woven shoelace type material to bind the sides (such as quilt binding). For straps, use elastic straps that loop behind the ears.


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