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Making personal protective equipment, or PPE, for healthcare workers who are facing shortages

It's an epidemic of compassion during this pandemic. People are putting their unique talents to good use during these tough times.

SAN DIEGO — The dwindling number of personal protective equipment or PPE continues to put healthcare workers on the front lines at risk.

San Diego nurse Vanessa Dangerfield said, "There are concerns about having enough protective equipment. Masks, gloves, PPE and gowns."

Her husband, Ryan Williiams, used his unique engineering talents to design a program to create 3D-printed PPE masks. He works for 3D printer company, Craftbot, and is doing something similar.

"I am 3-D printing these files for the headband portion of these masks," said Williams.

Jarabek Family Faculty Organization and the Scripps Ranch Civic Association are also helping. 

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"The community reach that has come of this effort now is 200 plus strong," added Williams.

To be clear, according to the FDA, 3D-printed PPE may provide a physical barrier, but are unlikely to provide the same fluid barrier and air filtration protection as FDA-cleared masks and N-95 respirators. 

Nevertheless, healthcare workers said the shields help.

"The nurses are getting issued one surgical mask a day or week. These shields help the mask last a little bit longer," said Dangerfield.

If you would like to help Williams and the Scripps Ranch Civic Association replenish their supplies, donate printer filament and plastic sheets email: coronavirushelp@scrippsranch.org.

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News 8 has joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise immediate, emergency funds for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help.  

We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.  

Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020. 
 

BACKGROUND:  

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.  

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:  

Know how it spreads:  

  • There is no vaccine  

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus 

  • It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact 

  • And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes 

Protect yourself 

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds 

  • If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick 

  • Put distance between yourselves and others 

Protect others 

  • Stay home when you are sick 

  • Wear a facemask if you are sick 

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

  • If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow 

  • Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing  

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe 

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page. 

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.  

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses. 

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders. 

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