Snow College assists with N95 masks

Snow College Richfield’s campus is being used to manufacture N95 masks.

Snow College’s manufacturing technology program, housed on the Richfield campus, has partnered with Sevier County emergency medical officials to help make N95 masks with 3-D printers and fibers from carbon composites.

The production time is currently six hours for eight masks, but the school is working with Sevier County emergency medical services and local dentists to produce a mold. Dr. Richard Barnett of Barnett Orthodontics in Richfield has been particularly instrumental in the mold design and approval process, according to the college. Once a mold is successfully produced, the school will be able to produce one mask every 10 minutes, according to Snow College President Bradley J. Cook. 

Cook discussed the project during a virtual town hall meeting April 1.

“We want to do everything we can to be good neighbors and good partners with our health care community in fighting this pandemic,” Cook said. “I am extremely proud of our manufacturing technology program for their work in making N95 masks. 

“Snow College is committed to continue to look for ways we can help in our local communities,” Cook said. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the general public wear N95 masks or respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including the coronavirus. 

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to it and to engage in everyday preventive actions, such as handwashing and maintaining at least six feet of social distancing, according to the CDC. 

The CDC also recommends members of the public wear simple cloth face coverings in public settings to slow the spread of the virus and to help people who may have the virus and may not realize it from transmitting the sickness to others. 

Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N95 masks and respirators.  

Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, according to the CDC.

The CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the coronavirus across the United States. 

A significant portion of individuals with coronavirus are asymptomatic, or pre-symptomatic, and can transmit the virus to others without being sick. 

The virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity— speaking, coughing or sneezing.

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