WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has admitted the personal protective equipment in the state is not enough.
He’s asked local companies to shift their businesses to help make masks, gowns, shields and other safety equipment for people on the front lines of this crisis.
“Mixxer” is a makerspace in Winston-Salem and it’s doing just that.
They’re creating face shields for employees at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
They’ll send over 100 on Friday to test how they hold up in day to day tasks.
“This is the sort of project that our members are built for,” said Alan Shelton, CEO and founder of Mixxer.
It takes a lot of sketching, hours of laser work and several different prototypes to produce a shield.
It is used as a physical barrier.
“If I sneeze right now, it’s not going to make it to you. If you sneeze, even if I have on a mask, this might catch some of that,” Shelton said.
Companies all over the country are hard at work, building their own form of personal protective equipment.
“We wanted to come up with a way to create something that could be made fast, cheap and easy,” Shelton said.
Shelton knew their team’s talent and equipment could be put to good use as COVID-19 rapidly spreads.
“We reached out to the chamber of commerce and wanted to officially connect with people working on the problem at that level,” he said.
He found out these shields were desperately needed after collaborating with a group of medical professionals at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, so his at- home team with straight to work.
“We have some members 3-D printing. I’m the only person in the building, so I’m cutting all the lenses and I’m also cutting all the frames from acrylic,” he said.
It takes about a minute for their laser to cut up all of the pieces of one of the types of shields they’re making.
“Once all of the pieces are cut we have to put them in a clean space remove all of protective coating and them package them up,” Shelton said.
The medical center will be responsible for sanitizing and assembling the shields when they get them.
Shelton said he’s working with the FDA to make sure they’re following certain guidelines because their products haven’t been tested or deemed effective yet.