Metro area volunteers and makerspaces have banned together to aid medical workers’ efforts to fight COVID-19 by designing and distributing free face shields through Face Shield Initiative STL.
While St. Louis city and St. Louis County remain under stay-at-home order, surrounding areas including St. Charles County push to reopen in an effort to boost local businesses. Meanwhile, frontline workers continue to wage war against the deadly virus that has stopped modern life as we know it. The latest tallies as of May 1 for COVID-19 in the St. Louis metro area are at 350 deaths and 6,324 positive cases, according to St. Louis Public Radio.
Producing more than 6,800 face shields, Face Shield Initiative STL has helped 82-plus organizations, relying on community members to build small-batch supplies with 3D printers and utilizing three makerspaces – Arch Reactor, Inventor Forge and MADE Makerspace – for manufacturing.
The group collaborated with medical directors from prominent universities and hospitals in the area to ensure the face masks were designed to meet medical standard levels of protection. Volunteers who have 3D printers can sign up online, where a face shield model by the National Institutes of Health is made available for use – a model that has gotten doctors’ stamps of approval. Hospitals, clinics, first responders and care facilities can also request face shields through the website.
Face Shield Initiative STL originated with the mission to provide a stop-gap service for the healthcare industry as big producers of personal protection equipment rushed to keep up with high demand. The organization’s volunteer efforts will taper off with the downward curve of COVID-19 cases, according to an announcement on administrator David Cervantes’ Facebook page, but not before fulfilling orders.
Donations, made through Face Shield Initiative STL’s GoFundMe page which is organized by administrator Emily Elhoffer, continue to fund materials, transportation costs, administrative needs and food for volunteers who work around the clock and out of pocket. As the community’s need lessens, any remaining funds will go to support relief efforts for St. Louis makers.
“We’ve learned a lot about the local plastics industry, packaging supplies and chain of materials that go into making every single shield that our loved ones on the frontlines use,” says Cervantes on his Facebook page. “It’s clear what St. Louis creatives can do when we put our minds to it.”
Visit flattenthecurvestl.com to learn more about the initiative.
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