In an effort to bolster resources for the regional health care sector as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, Selkirk College is working alongside technology and health care leaders in the community to provide assistance.
Selkirk College’s Selkirk Technology Access Centre (formerly known as the MIDAS Lab) and Austin Engineering’s lab in Trail are being utilized by a small team of researchers, engineers and technicians who have been producing much-needed medical face shields that are in high demand for regional health care facilities. The face shields being produced on the specialized equipment are being used to protect workers on the frontlines.
Researchers, engineers and technicians at the Selkirk Technology Access Centre in Trail are currently helping to produce medical face shields that are in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have the equipment and expertise in our community for this type of manufacturing on a small scale,” says Selkirk College Applied Researcher Jason Taylor. “The face shields are currently being produced have already been provided to hospitals in the region as they continue their response in this challenging time.”
Quality Face Shields Being Produced
The effort to produce the vital gear for the frontlines involves a team of individuals, businesses and organizations who are on the leading edge of digital manufacturing in the region. Included in the effort is Austin Engineering, Lee Wasilenko, Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST), School District #8 and #20, and Selkirk College.
The pieces being used to manufacture face shields are being produced on 3D printers at the Selkirk Technology Access Centre in Trail.
Local physician Dr. Mike Vance pulled together the effort to get the expertise and equipment at the Selkirk Technology Access Centre working towards increasing the stock of materials required to protect the health and safety of workers during the COVID-19 response. Dr. Vance set up a GoFundMe page that quickly exceeded the request to help pay for materials required.
“The face shields we are producing right now are the highest quality shields I've seen,” Dr. Vance said in an email update. “Other manufacturers have contacted me with their design and they are flimsy, unsafe, difficult to sanitize and won't hold up to continued use. Ours are much more robust, will hold up to days of use, can be disassembled easier for thorough sanitizing, are comfortable and safe to use.”
Selkirk College has also assisted the regional health care facilities by providing donations of supplies that include facemasks, gowns, gloves, hand sanitizer and other essential materials needed by Interior Health. These items come from labs in the School of Health & Human Services, the college’s Food Services and Maintenance departments, and the School of Industry & Trades Training.