Patrick Henry Community College uses 3-D printers to create face mask for staff at SOVAH Martinsville

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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Faculty members at a Patrick Henry Community College are using 3-D printers to help keep medical workers safe, at a time when protective equipment can be in short supply.

The Fab Lab at Patrick Henry Community College's Idea Center,

is Martinsville's hub for innovation.

The 3-D printers at the center have been quiet since COVID-19 cut them off to the public this Monday. That's until college president Angeline Godwin had an idea.

The machines are now making medical face masks for staff at Martinsville Sovah Hospital.

"We are working to make 150 to 200 face masks with the materials we have here," said Fab Lab coordinator, Chris Wagoner.

The mask protects staff from splashes or sprays of fluid and takes around three hours to print, Wagoner says they're bringing in all of their printers to ramp up production.

In a statement, Sovah Health officials said they are not short on supplies but as cases are starting to pop up in our region, Patrick Henry is hoping their effort to will help the hospital stock up and brace for what's to come.

"Taking the preventive measures is what is going to help if it does come this way, and I feel like it's better to be prepared to confront it head on," said Matthew Ratliff, Community Development Coordinator at Patrick Henry Community College.

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