LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky businesses continue to switch their normal operations to help create personal protective equipment for healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
Clayton and Crume founders Tyler Jury and Clay Simpson had to close their leather shop a few weeks ago because of the pandemic; within a few days of closing, though, Jury and Clay were creating a new type of product: a prototype of a plastic face shield.
“Twenty four hours [after making the prototype], we texted a picture of those prototypes to some people in the network and 24 hours after that we had a massive order from the state of Kentucky,” Simpson explained to WAVE 3 News.
The company has now shifted their focus from leather to plastic.
"We know how to cut things, design things and get parts and pieces to make a finished good," Jury said. "So when you translate that from leather to plastic or brass rivets to foam, the heart and soul of what we are doing is very similar."
The two initially planned to make 1,000 shields for healthcare workers, but the operation has expanded in a short amount of time.
The company found a warehouse to move into that would create more space for them to create over a half-million face shields for the state.
This week they loaded two truckloads of 2,000 face shields for the state to distribute. While their focus is Kentucky, they are also planning to help send masks to other healthcare workers across the country.
“We love Kentucky and we’re going to take care of the people here in Kentucky, but we’ve also had people buy wallets for their husbands in Texas and we want to take care of them too if we can,” Jury said.
Solid Light Fabrication Manager Mike Marnell said he talked to his sister-in-law, who is a doctor in California, and asked her how they could help. She told him about a doctor in Taiwan who released the design for the 'aerosol box’ a few weeks ago.
“It protects the doctor and all of their PPE from any coughs or any aerosolized versions of this virus that could go out and infect the doctors or the ER,” Marnell explained.
He and other fabricators made some changes to the design and started sending the boxes off to doctors in some of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19. Marnell told WAVE 3 News Thursday they have made about 70 intubation boxes so far. The company can make about 20 to 25 boxes a day. They are shipping them off to local healthcare workers and also states like New York, California, Oregon, and Georgia.
“We already made vitrines for artifacts,” Marnell said. “And it’s essentially the same thing, except instead of protecting an artifact we’re protecting our healthcare providers.”