MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Since the beginning of April, neighbors in Muskogee have been 3D printing masks that help make N95 respirators last longer. The first batch is now being sent out to a thankful group of medical workers.
Dr. Mike Stratton and his team at Muskogee Children’s Clinic received a set of masks, which are fitted with elastic and cushioning to keep them tight to the face. The front of the mask is designed to hold a patch of N95 respirator fabric.
"This particular mask has been a godsend,” Dr. Stratton said. “These last longer, they have the N95 filter, which is much thicker, and I think it’s more effective."
Before those masks arrived, the team was using whatever they could get their hands on. That included masks from local construction companies.
Dr. Stratton says his team changes out their masks every day, which is why only having to use a patch of respirator fabric is so much more efficient. At the end of the day, doctors and nurses can wash their mask and change out the fabric, rather than getting a whole new mask.
Companies, shops, and families across the county are 3D printing the very same masks to help their local medical workers. Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke started the project, and hopes the community can make 500 in the first wave.
"It’s a way for people to feel like they’re contributing," Doke said. "This is the Oklahoma standard; it’s what we do. We have a problem, and people step up to try to help.”
Dr. Stratton, thankful for the community having his team's back, says they will continue to work carefully to keep children healthy and safe.
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