Coronavirus Help: Bay Area communities teaming up to refurbish N95 masks for use in senior centers, shelters

ALAMO, Calif. (KGO) -- Tens of thousands of expired N95 masks are getting refurbished at the hands of volunteers. It's as simple as this - old masks given new life by a tech entrepreneur, a hospital and a church all teaming up to help others.

The dilemma - 80,000 expired N95 masks at UCSF that couldn't be worn by medical staff.

Why is an expired N95 not usable? It's because the thin plastic strap has deteriorated over time and rips. All it needs to refurbish it is a new elastic band and it's good to go.

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"We can't assure the filtration since they are ranked as expired masks but they serve a perfectly good purpose as surgical masks or community masks," UCSF orthopedic surgeon Dr. Aenor Sawyer said.

Toby Ricco, founder of Bimotal Inc. said, "These are going to be high quality compared to a home baked solution and we can get these out to nursing homes, homeless shelters, people who are at high risk and need them."

So volunteers are coming to Creekside Community Church in Alamo to first sterilize themselves and a work station, and then staple elastic in the hopes of finishing 10,000 masks this weekend alone.

"The vision is that this will be repeated across the U.S. Train the trainers and get one church to model this and get other churches to develop relationships with hospitals that have expired masks and we can again get them on faces," Lauren Duensing with Creekside Community Church said, "That's what we know this pandemic needs is masks."

If you want to help, you can visit their website here and click on Creekside to sign up for a shift.

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