Two local organizations are creating and donating 250 silicone masks to Augusta University health care workers


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — There is a high demand for PPE to help keep medical workers on the frontlines safe while combating the coronavirus. Solvay and AOPI are filling the void by collaborating to create and donate 250 silicone masks for health care workers at Augusta University.

“It’s not every day you get to help somebody and make sure they are going home safe to their family when they have a hazardous job,” said Michael Ray.

Solvay’s HSE Manager says 3D-printing first made the masks. Ray then took the idea to AOPI to produce them quickly.

“Tripp Rice was more than happy to open up his shop!” said Ray. “They helped with the design and developed the product. I have probably done about 15 prototypes of silicone that the hospital would approve.

It took a week to come up with the perfect design. Now, the project is bringing two different companies together for a common cause.

“You always have to look at the bright side of things,” said Certified Prosthetist for AOPI, Tripp Rice. “Instead of thinking negative, think positive. Look at Mike Ray and me coming together, we haven’t seen each other in a while, and we are working together to help people.”

The masks are reusable, comfortable, and easy to clean. There is a section for a filter around the mouth for extra protection.

“The product is something different, Prosthetics Technician for AOPI, Nubia Key. “Hopefully, it will be better than other masks. We will have to see after they are starting using it.”

While it’s unknown if these masks can serve as a replacement for the N-95, making or donating masks still fills a need.

“It doesn’t just help them; it also makes you feel good because you’re doing a service,” explained Industrial Hygienist for Solvay, Kennan Monaghan. “You’re keeping that positive attitude until we can be done with this virus.”

On Monday, more than 15 people will help assemble the masks, then donate them to AU.

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