MUKILTEO — Danica Chadwick returned home from work at the hospital the same day that bars, gyms and many other businesses were ordered to close their doors to stop the spread of COVID-19.
She’s a nurse manager at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. She told her husband, Colin Chadwick, that protective gear was running out, especially face masks.
“I said, ‘Someone call me, we can make those,’ ” said Colin Chadwick, who owns Terrene Inc., a fabrication company in Mukilteo that specializes in laser work.
In the first week, workers there made more than 27,000 masks for Providence hospitals, as part of its 100 Million Masks Challenge.
Companies around Snohomish County have stepped outside normal operations to help during the coronavirus pandemic. Some are delivering groceries to people who would be at high risk if infected, while others provide free food.
As of Friday, at least 4,300 people had been infected with the virus statewide, and by Sunday at least 194 had died. In Snohomish County, 912 cumulative cases and 23 deaths were reported as of Friday, the last update from the Snohomish Health District.
Providence connected Terrene with Kaas Tailored, another manufacturing company from Mukilteo. Owner Jeff Kaas already had a network of businesses ready to get to work, including Seattle-based Nordstrom.
Colin Chadwick and Kaas met about a week ago. Less than two days later, Providence sent their stock of fabric to Terrene.
At first, Providence asked home sewers to contribute. Now that manufacturing companies have stepped up to make a more consistent product more quickly, would-be mask-makers have been asked to send cash donations.
Colin Chadwick has nine employees working about 16 hours a day.
Other businesses in the county are helping in any way they can.
Like other alcohol producers around the country, Arlington-based Bad Dog Distillery started pumping out hand sanitizer. Owner Dave McGlothern gave more than 100 personal bottles and a 5-gallon bucket to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are incredibly grateful this business stopped their own production to help out our Snohomish County community,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook. “Thank you Bad Dog Distillery.”
Dwight Miller owns Lifetime Heating and Air Conditioning, based in Snohomish. Business is slower than usual, so Lifetime has also started to pick up and deliver groceries for people who can’t leave their homes. That includes those with compromised immune systems or health conditions, anyone over age 60, and homebound parents.
“We’re already in the community, we’re running service calls … it seemed like a natural fit,” Miller said. “No strings attached. No questions asked. If they need help, we’re here.”
The company posted the offer on its Facebook page and in The Snohomies Facebook group.
Requests have started to pick up in the past few days. Miller expects it to catch on quickly.
If someone uses Lifetime for grocery delivery, the nine employees are taking plenty of precautions. They wear masks and gloves. The Snohomish office and each company vehicle has air scrubbers, Miller said.
Lifetime’s offer will last as long as stay-at-home orders are in effect.
“We’re not making any money on this,” he said. “We’re giving away free filters, we’re doing the grocery delivery. If you need assistance, if you need help, ask.”
Jeff Knoch of Jeff’s Texas Style BBQ in Marysville made a few phone calls. He’s now serving up free meals to parents of students who receive free or reduced lunches in the Marysville School District. He’s collecting donations online — $10 a meal — through the restaurant’s website, Facebook page and at the restaurant. Knoch has stayed open for to-go orders only. He hopes to keep the program going as long as school campuses are closed.
People all over the state have lost jobs, but service workers in the food industry have been hit especially hard. Many businesses along First Street in Snohomish are restaurants, and the city has put together a virtual tip jar to help those who have been out of work.
It can be found online at virtualsnohomish.com, under the banner “Virtual Tip Jar.” Customers can find servers and hair stylists by name or business in the list, and then see their Venmo or PayPal handle to send money, without having to come in physical contact.
It’s a way to help people who rely on tips for their income, said Wendy Poischbeg, the city’s economic development and communications manager.
Habitat for Humanity closed three retail stores around the county and paused all other operations. The nonprofit donated its stock of 640 face masks to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. Originally the N95 masks were going to be used while building homes for low-income families.
“It’s something small,” said Roger Johnson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Snohomish County. “But I hope it can protect a few more nurses and doctors.”
Meanwhile, in Mukilteo, Kaas Tailored has posted the face mask pattern online. Anyone in the world can use it. Because of that, it’s impossible to know how many masks have been made with the design.
“I’ll never know,” Kaas said, “and I’m OK with that.”