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00000177-b32b-d5f4-a5ff-bbfb6e660000Here is the information you need to know about COVID-19 in Northwest Florida. We will keep this post updated with the latest information from local, and statewide agencies. For inforamtion from Centers for Disease Control and prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirusFor updates on Florida cases of coronavirus, visit the FDOH dashboard.The COVID-19 call center is available at 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121

UWF To Help Healthcare Workers With 3D-Printed Protective Gear

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(Editor's note: This is a developing news story and will be updated this afternoon.)

The University of West Florida announced this morning it is making 3D-printed protective face gear to aid in the battle against COVID-19.

The gear is being manufactured at its Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Laboratory in downtown Pensacola. The guards are scheduled to be delivered Tuesday.

“By now most of us are aware of the shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers,” UWF President Martha D. Saunders said in a news release announcing the production of the face gear. “At UWF, we are simply doing what we do best, deploying our resources for the good of our community. Fighting COVID-19 is a critical mission and we’re all in this together.”

The production team will be able to print units on demand for distribution during the next three months at the Sea3D lab, located inside the UWF Historic Trust’s Museum of Commerce. Healthcare providers may request full face guard kits by completing an online form. Priority may be given to local nonprofit healthcare providers serving at-risk populations including the elderly, low income and the homeless. 

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Students of UWF's Haas Center and Sea3D Additive Manufacturing Lab print and assemble face shields in response to the dwindling supply of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses treating patients with COVID-19 on March 31, 2020.

“This is an opportunity for UWF students and faculty to collaborate with manufacturers and utilize their skills in this time of need,” Nicole Gislason, interim assistant vice president of the UWF Haas Center, said in the release. “We teach our students that real-world problems can be transformed into creative solutions through research, invention and discovery. There is no better time than the present for them to put that teaching to practical use.”

The production team consists of innovators from multiple departments at UWF, including nursing, engineering, art and business. UWF students and faculty will work alongside professionals from regional hospitals, the Escambia County Division of Emergency Management, GE Renewable Energy and Alto Products Corp.

“There are thousands of inventors and makers around the globe generously sharing their ideas to address the pandemic,” said Thomas Asmuth, associate professor of the UWF Department of Art and a designer for the production team. “We are very grateful for the quick start from other designers around the world. You can be very agile in response to a problem when you are using rapid prototyping technologies. As a designer and maker, there is nothing comparable.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit uwf.edu/coronavirus.

For more information about UWF Sea3D, visit uwf.edu/sea3d.