SARASOTA — The Suncoast Science Center wants help in creating better face protection against COVID-19.

A news release from the center notes it is starting by assessing area need for nursing homes and assisted living centers in the region.

“To that end, the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab, in partnership with a group of dedicated volunteers, is requesting input from assisted living and other non-primary health care facilities to determine local need for replacements for nonexistent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” it states in a news release. “Face shields to be fabricated will be similar to what can be seen at coxhealth.com/innovation.”

It has face mask designs that are available at www.suncoastscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Joanns-face-mask-pattern.pdf.

It is asking needing facilities to complete the form for requests at https://bit.ly/fablabppe.

“The supply of PPE provided to health care workers to use while caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely limited and rapidly declining each day,” it said in the news release. “In an effort to protect health care workers and patients and slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Suncoast Science Center is seeking input from assisted living facilities, nursing homes and other non-primary healthcare facility representatives in need of PPE alternatives like face masks or shields.”

Federal officials have already ordered an additional 500 million surgical face masks — mostly for hospital and primary health center workers.

“Health care workers in non-primary facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities could be left behind without even basic protection,” the news release states.

A batch of requests will be accepted through Friday.

“If you have sewing skills or a sewing machine to use to help make masks, a willingness to help prototype and produce masks/shield, distribute masks/shields, et cetera, we need you,” it said. Those interested can visit bit.ly/fabcovidvol.

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