Local college jumps in to produce protective equipment for healthcare workers

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 3:59 PM EDT
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With hospitals across the country filling up with coronavirus patients, personal protective equipment or PPE is running low.

As cities, states, as well as the federal government, search to find equipment, one college in Southeastern Kentucky is using a brand new lab to help pitch in.

With the help of Toyota, Tsusho, and a handful of others, the IDEAS lab or Innovation, Design, & Entrepreneurship at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College has nine 3D printers working on creating face shields for healthcare workers during the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"We put in a bank of 3D printers that we will use with entrepreneurs and our students who wish to get into that field that is growing very fast," said Dr. Vic Adams the president and CEO of the college.

The shields will be reusable. The only parts that will have to be supplied are the plastic shields that will snap on.

It takes more than an hour to make the part in a printer. The school plans to make a couple hundred to start. Then, if the demand for them grows they will make more.

"We're glad that we can help and we hope this will lead to other innovative things," said Adams.

The shields are not the only things the college is donating.

They have also donated masks and gowns from their nursing program, as well as ventilators they have on hand for the training.

"A lot of the employees who are working in the hospital are our former students. So were trying to do something to give back to them and give back to our community. Our hospitals, ARH has been very generous to us and our program mountain comprehensive health has been very generous to us," said Adams.

The school is doing all of this at almost no cost. They are receiving some state funds and material to make the masks. They are also donating the time used in manpower.

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