Face masks continue to be worn, even 'printed' by some

Posted at 8:43 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 05:47:08-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. -- If you have been out and about, you have probably seen a lot of people wearing masks. It is something people can do to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and is encouraged by health and government officials.

Take for example Andre Williams, who made a stop at a Wawa in Newport News. He had an N95 mask, and you will not see him without one.

"It's a little uncomfortable, but you get used to it real quick," Williams said. "I sleep better at night knowing I'm protected the best I can."

He said his job requires it, but he also wears it to stay safe and healthy.

"Even if it's not necessary, I would rather err on the side of caution," Williams said.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam stressed the message again at his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday. He carried out the message when he demonstrated using his own face mask.

"If a person is wearing a face covering, it is less likely that droplet from sneezing or talking will spread out into the air," Northam said. "It also makes you more aware of accidentally touching your face."

Some masks people may recognize are the N95 and similar-looking masks that employees in certain job sectors may wear. These kinds of masks cover the nose and mouth.

Even handmade masks, pieces or cloth or other kinds of face-covering garment are also being encouraged. At the same time, the Williamsburg Regional Library is "printing" protective gear such as filtration masks and face shields.

"Let's see, it took about an hour and 26 minutes to make," Ben Strohm, a library staff member in charge of overseeing the library's 3D printers, explained as he demonstrated a face shield he produced. "Then, the transparent part is actually is just a poster cover."

The library is closed, but it fired up its 3D printers to produce more of these pieces of personal protective equipment, also known as PPE. They have roughly six PPE, and Strohm said the equipment would go to the following:

"People driving buses, people handing out lunches at the school sites who otherwise wouldn't have anything," Strohm said.

Strohm said staff got the idea to 3D print PPE after coming across websites that discussed and explained how to 3D print PPE. Starting Monday night, he said the printers will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

At that rate, Strohm said they library can produce up to 80 face shields and up to 30 filtration masks.

"Across the world where people are using the technology and resources, they have to find solutions that will help people right now. We're still learning; we're still figuring it out."

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