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Sarasota Friday, Mar. 27, 2020 10 months ago

Suncoast Science Center requests PPE needs, volunteers

The center hopes to make shields and masks to provide to non-primary healthcare facilities.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer


Have a loved one in an assisted living facility that is running short of personal protective equipment?

The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is hoping to help with that. 

The center, along with a group of volunteers, wants to gain input from assisted living facilities and other non-primary healthcare facilities to determine local need for PPE replacements. 

The supply of PPE provided to healthcare workers to use while caring for patients who may have COVID-19 is limited and is declining each day. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ordered 500 million surgical face makes, many of which will be provided to hospital and primary health center workers, a statement from Suncoast said. 

In trying to bridge the gap, Suncoast aims to make face shields using 3-D printing and laser cutting technology. Face masks will be made using fabric and a pattern

Assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other non-primary healthcare facilities that need PPE are encouraged to complete an online form for face mask and shield requests.

A first batch of requests will be accepted through Friday, April 3. Upon review, organizations will be contacted by Suncoast Science Center staff to discuss a distribution plan and determine the supply need. 

The center also is in need of volunteers. Those who have sewing skills or a sewing machine to make masks or a willingness to help prototype, produce and distribute masks or shields are asked to fill out an online form. Staff will then be in touch to coordinate efforts. 

Those who have alternate ideas for face masks, shields or other products that could help slow the spread of coronavirus are asked to complete an online form.  The Fab Lab provides access to CAD and other design software, laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, CNC routers, soldering equipment, power tools and more. Free lab membership may be provided to those with viable ideas. 

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