COVID-19 is Still Lurking

May 5, 2020 in Outreach, Slideshow by Scott Rippetoe

While many places are starting to reopen for business, COVID-19 is still a significant concern. With stay-at-home measures in place and most businesses only open for pick-up, the infection rate was very close to 1.0, meaning one person was infecting one additional person. To see a drop in the overall number of new cases, that rate needs to be lower. Some states are achieving this, but with recent changes we may see an increase in infection rate.

The need for Personal Protective Equipment remains and probably will for several months, possibly into the summer of 2021. That depends on advances made in COVID-19 treatments, the development of a vaccine, the response by individual states, and the build up of immunity in the population. Some states still have intensive care units operating above capacity. Fortunately, Texas has excess ICU capacity. I hope we do not need it.

Thus far, we have distributed at least 1889 face shields, but we currently have requests for nearly 1700 more. We have supplies to make an additional 600 of the ProShield (1477 design) and 1200 of the Manta Ray Protective Visor. VEX Robotics has enough plastic to make at least 10,000 RobotShields (148 design). They are marked out of stock on the VEX Robotics website because they are working to take care of all their donation requests, including those that we can place with them as a partner in the Texas Robotics PPE Project.

Financially, we have over $13,000 in our PPE account, with about $1000 of that encumbered toward recent purchases. So far, we have paid for purchases using our PayPal account and kept that money separate from the team funds in our account at Amegy Bank. We also have team money in the Activity Fund of the Academy of Science and Technology. When a purchaser requires a credit card instead of PayPal, we have used our Amegy debit card then reimbursed the team with a transfer from PayPal. That is the encumbrance mentioned above.

We had a CAD challenge to design an Intubation Chamber. While it has not cleared hospital trials yet, we have applied for a patent. Michael Menezes came up with the basic layout and I contributed additional features based on feedback from medical staff. Here is the most recent photo.

Intubation Chamber Rev3

For now, there is not an urgent need for the team to raise more money for the Texas Robotics PPE Project.