Mercer looks to make reusable masks for healthcare workers

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Mercer University wants to help area health care providers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Mercer’s School of Engineering is developing a prototype for reusable surgical masks to distribute to local health care providers. The prototype is made of durable material equipped with a high-efficiency air filter clipped to the front of the mask.

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The idea is that the masks can be sanitized and reused.

The university is prepared to make close to 200 masks, if necessary. By Friday, they will have at least 15 masks ready.

“We feel we will have a prototype to take and ask Navicent to do a fit test on a protective mask that any medical professional would have to go through to demonstrate the mask is effective,” said Dr. Joanna Thomas, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. “And once our design passes that test, we will share the file and we will start manufacturing.”

Macon dentist Dr. Amber Lawson initiated the project.