Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Do you have a sewing machine handy and want to help the local battle against the COVID-19 war?

Olmsted County Public Health Services is coordinating an effort to collect face masks for local congregate facilities, first responder agencies, homecare and other healthcare settings.

The county department says the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recently recommended that all individuals wear cloth face masks or coverings when in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Community mask requirements:
Masks should follow CDC guidelines
Masks should fit snug but be comfortable against the face and allow for breathing without restriction

Patterns to follow:
It is recommended that all masks be in alignment with the CDC’s guidelines for masks. There are several patterns available that follow CDC requirements. They include:

CDC pattern
Deaconess Health - How to Make a Face Mask (video)
Allina Health - How to Make a face mask (PDF)
Filter Opening Face Mask Pattern (video)

Finished masks should be placed in a clean plastic bag (e.g., plastic grocery store bag tied shut or sealed plastic bag).

Donation Drop off locations:
Rochester Fire Stations have bins located outside in their parking lots that are available 24/7:
· Fire Station 1: 521 S Broadway
· Fire Station 2: 2185 Wheelock Drive NE
· Fire Station 3: 2755 2nd Street SW
· Fire Station 4: 1875 41st Street NW
· Fire Station 5: 305 28th Street SE

·Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center are not included in the county’s collection effort but are conducting their own.

Mayo Clinic accepts donations weekdays from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM at drive-up donations centers, located at:
· Gonda Building, 200 First Street SW -- East entrance
· Mayo Family Clinic Southeast, 4544 Canal Place SE
*Donated masks will be used by staff who do not work in patient care areas as well as by patients and visitors.

Olmsted Medical Center accepts finished masks weekdays, 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon at Olmsted Medical Center’s Marketing and Foundation Offices at:
· 102 Elton Hills Drive
· More information on website:

Rochester Public Schools accepts donations weekdays from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM at:
· Franklin Elementary School, 1801 9th Ave SE – Door 1
· Jefferson Elementary School, 1201 10th Ave NE – Door 1 and 2
· Gage Elementary School, 1300 40th Street NW – Door 1
· Sunset Terrace Elementary School, 1707 19th Ave NW – Door 1

Individuals who would like to donate fabric or elastic are asked to call the City of Rochester COVID-19 Information Hotline at 507-328-2822. Collection bins for materials are also located outside Rochester Fire Stations. Zumbro Valley Medical Society will direct these materials to individuals making face masks for agencies providing essential services.

If your organization needs masks:
Homemade face masks will be provided to congregate facilities, first responder agencies, and homecare and other healthcare settings (other than Mayo Clinic or Olmsted Medical Center) first; other agencies providing essential services to the public needing masks will also be provided if supplies allow. Agencies can request a mask by calling the City of Rochester COVID-19 Information Hotline at 507-328-2822.

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