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Collaborative effort in Kelowna creating face shields for frontline health workers

Click to play video: 'Interior Health Authority getting 3D printed face shields from UBC Okanagan' Interior Health Authority getting 3D printed face shields from UBC Okanagan
Interior Health Authority getting 3D printed face shields from UBC Okanagan – Apr 16, 2020

Inside the engineering building at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, they are helping wage war against COVID-19.

“We are creating 3D-printed face shields for our frontline workers,” said UBCO Makerspace manager Cortnee Chulo.

The Makerspace team has teamed up with various players in the Kelowna community to help protect Interior Health Authority professionals.

READ MORE: University of Alberta works with AHS to make 3D-printed face shields

“What happens is we start off with a [computer-aided design] model of it, that one of our community members designed with IHA,” Chulo said.
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The face shields are being feverishly manufactured in order to help shield healthcare workers from COVID-19.

“Right now, we [UBCO] are producing between 70 and 100 a day here at UBCO, and the community is producing between 10 and a 100 a day, depending on how many of our members are at work,” Chulo explained.

Fourteen 3D printers at UBCO are working day and night to print off plastic parts for the reusable face shields.

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B.C. teen printing and shipping face shields to U.S. doctors – Apr 9, 2020

​But the university’s printers are not the only 3D printers involved in making the face shields — the project is a collaborative between several community members with 3D printers, including Okanagan College, the Regional Library and private individuals.

“We’ve named it the Okanagan Makers Alliance,” Chulo said.

The goal is to get 1,750 face shields into the hands of IHA frontline workers within the next two weeks or so.

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The coronavirus pandemic has created a worldwide shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE).

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Coronavirus: Mass producing laser-cut disposable face shields – Apr 7, 2020

It’s a shortage that hits close to home for Chulo, whose partner is a nurse on the cardiac ward at Kelowna General Hospital.

“Supporting the community is a wonderful thing to be able to do,” Chulo said.

“But to know that it is somebody close to me that I can help protect instead of the other way around is ideal.”

In terms of a dollar value, the masks cost about three or four dollars to make. However ask a healthcare worker and they will probably tell you that any protection against COVID-19 is priceless.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus around the world: April 11, 2020' Coronavirus around the world: April 11, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: April 11, 2020

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