Island Health said it is eager to explore partnerships with the Valley’s Project Draw Breath and others who are assisting health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Island health said it is “humbled” by the generosity and ingenuity of everyone who has reached out to help care professionals in the fight against the virus, and the health authority is grateful for their efforts.
The statement said Island Health is eager to explore partnerships that can lead to an increased supply of medical-grade personal protective equipment and other medical supplies that meet all health and safety standards.
“For example, Island Health has been working with Camosun College, other Vancouver Island post-secondary institutions and local producers to develop 3D printed and laser cut plastic prototypes for face shields that meet health system standards,” the statement said.
“Earlier this week, the B.C. government launched the COVID-19 Supply Hub to coordinate, source and expedite medical supplies and personal protective equipment to provincial health authorities. Businesses and other organizations are encouraged to visit www.gov.bc.ca/supplyhub to learn how they can get involved and help.”
In just a few days last month, the “Project Draw Breath”, consisting of people from a number of disciplines and backgrounds in the Valley, was formed and, using their expertise and 3D printers, developed working ventilator masks that could help with the shortage of ventilators locally, and across the globe, to deal with severe respiratory illnesses related to COVID-19.
Clinical tests on the masks with Island Health are hoped to begin soon.
The team has also developed easy-to-construct plastic face shields that are in great demand by the medical community around the world during the crisis, and has sterilization equipment in its newly established lab so that they can be reused.
The first batch of 20 of the face masks have already been delivered to the on-call emergency dentists of the Cowichan Valley, who work from Mill Bay to Chemainus.
The team is also collecting CPAC [continuous positive airway pressure] machines from those in the community who no longer need them, and their parts are being used to make medical equipment, such as makeshift ventilators.