Jessica Denomme, a medical intensive care unit nurse at the University of Virginia Medical Center, has taken on a special project in addition to treating COVID-19 patients — collaborating with the School of Engineering to build personal protective equipment for health care workers using 3D-printing technology.
Denomme said she had reached out to biomedical engineering faculty to ask about their ability to help make PPE, which includes such materials as N95-like masks, nasopharyngeal swabs and plastic face shields.
“UVa has enough PPE for now,” Denomme said. “And we are reusing our N95 masks right now. They have a cleaning method that they’ve initiated. … But I did anticipate just based on other models that we could potentially run out.”
Engineering faculty agreed, forming a collaboration that spans several of the university’s institutions, including the Schools of Architecture and Education, according to a UVa Today article.
“We’ve had to adjust everything from things that we do hourly. We’ve had to do them less frequently and stuff like that to preserve PPE,” Denomme said.
Denomme said there is also a grassroots effort for community members who can sew or have 3D printers to donate PPE supplies to the hospital and health care staff. More information can be found at the Masks for Cville website. According to the site, Masks for Cville volunteers donated 4,000 straps and 4,900 face shields to the Medical Center, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital and local nursing facilities on April 21.