In preparation for a predicted surge of COVID_19 patients in San Antonio, Texas, this hard-working nurse deserves an award, among the many other health care workers that are working relentlessly to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. With reports by KSAT predicting many an increase in coronavirus patients in San Antonio in May, Tommye Austin, the chief executive nurse at University Health System has been working hard to get ready.
Using AC filter material from Lowe’s, Austin has made 600 masks with better filtration than the N95 masks. In talking to KSAT, Austin says, “Once we learned that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] had given us the ability to create masks, rather than using a bandanna or a handkerchief, we decided to look at creating our own N95.” With research and testing done by the Southwest Research Institute, the new masks are actually more efficient than the original masks because the new ones have better filtration.
According to Austin, the masks have a “filtration rate of 99.5 percent with one material and has a 97.8 percent filtration efficiency with another material” whereas the original masks have a filtration rate of 95 percent. With these kinds of statistics, she hopes to make another 6,500 masks that can be used twice if properly sanitized. Her masks prevent dizziness and headaches because it doesn’t have carbon dioxide buildup.
Austin told KSAT, “Hearing the stories from the nurses in New York and other hot spots, it was just heartbreaking. As a nurse, we are to be advocates for people, so my primary goal was not to make money off this mask or anything. The main purpose of this mask was to keep people safe.” She plans to share her design with all other health care workers, especially the ones who are struggling to keep up due to limited resources.
Let’s continue to support our health care workers, our true heroes, in these trying times. Spread the word and stay at home.