Cary doctor creates filtered face masks for front line workers


CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Creativity sometimes comes to you out of necessity.

Dr. KaRae Carey is a nurse for a large healthcare provider in central North Carolina.

Recognizing the need for masks across the population during the COVID-19 pandemic, she started to think about what most us already have at home that filters things out.

“I thought of vacuum cleaner filters and furnace filters, and so economically, I went with furnace filters. Because it’s larger and I could cut it up and use it to place inside of that I was already making,” said Carey.

She then went online to figure out to how to get the HVAC filter inside a homemade mask.

“So I got patterns and edited them from the internet to make a pocket where I could put the cut out filter inside of that mask. So I could take the filter out and toss it and wash the homemade mask.”

Her husband is a police lieutenant with the Town of Cary. He is one of the main reasons she got to work on her new project.

“Unfortunately, with his profession, he isn’t always able to keep the 6 feet distance. It’s his duty and obligation he takes it very seriously. When it’s time to go in and be there for our citizens, that’s what he does,” Carey explained.  

And now he has his wife’s mask to help keep him healthy.

Carey is doing this after a long day on the job as a nurse and while running her own mental health practice.

“So there is the question of how long is this going to last. What difference is it going to make in my own life in my own practice, not only as a mental health provider but as a nurse? What does it mean for the profession? Those are all questions. What kind of decisions are going to be made? How are they going to be made differently? Those are all things that you think about and then the duty kicks in. Doing the things that you have to do and must be done in order to care for the people who you went into the profession to care for,” she explained.

Carey says that she’s ramping up her production line for her husband’s co-workers and their families.

CBS 17’s Russ Bowen asked her, “you know, I have a sneaky suspicion that once this gets posted online and it airs that people are going to think ‘you know what I can do this for my local  law-enforcement, I could do this for my frontline workers at the grocery store that I can do this for those health care workers like yourself’ so what would your advice be to them”?

“To do it. Just to do it,” she replied.

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