Two Brainerd Lakes area businesses have taken steps to help provide urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19 patient care and response.
Hunt Utilities Group, located in Pine River, MN, said in a Facebook post that their engineers have set aside their regular research and development and have made it their #1 priority to seeing how HUG can best help the community.
The company is using 3D print technology to manufacture face masks and shields. They said the shields have been distributed to local medical facilities and face masks have been donated to The Outreach Program in Nisswa, a humanitarian food aid organization.
Ryan Hunt, president of HUG, has been searching for other regional manufacturers that have the capability to produce face guards and shields.
Hunt said in a chamber of commerce publication, “Our medical workers are going to need more PPE, too, like the full suits, shoe covers, etc. There is an open source effort with lots of designs linked and reviewed. I want to call on all local makers and manufacturers to see if there is anything in their collected designs that they can adapt to make rapidly.”
Meanwhile, Hunt’s father, Paul, who is a founder of the company, has been working with community groups to provide patterns for home-sewn fabric face masks. Paul Hunt shared information about salt-infused face masks that can potentially filter more virus particles and possibly kill harmful pathogens.
HUG has coordinated with another Brainerd Lakes area company, LINDAR Corporation to explore production of face shields.
LINDAR, which has been in the business of manufacturing plastic parts including food packaging, paint trays and parts for machinery in Baxter since 1993, said in a Facebook post that they are now putting their team to work developing a face shields for healthcare workers and first responders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The owner and president of LINDAR, Tom Haglin, said they passed along a face shield design to Essentia Health to determine if it’s the right fit. They are also working to ascertain production level needs to fit along with increased production from both 3M and Honeywell.
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