A Massachusetts construction company closed due to the coronavirus pandemic is using its resources to help build devices for health care workers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ken Vona of KVC Builders in Waltham was recently contacted by his friend David DeBlasio, whose daughter is a nurse working on the front lines at Tufts Medical Center. Vona said DeBlasio asked him if he could make a plexiglass box that can be placed over a patient's head when they are put on a ventilator.
"When they're doing — putting trach tubes down people's throats — they're spraying stuff back up and this is what we're trying to contain," Vona explained Tuesday.
Eager to help, Vona quickly responded as his custom home and cabinet company is closed due to the state's stay-at-home order.
"We're shut down. We're shut down until May 4 because of the governor, so we're doing nothing," Vona said.
Working with a team of volunteer woodworkers and getting donations from family, friends and clients, the friends have secured enough funds to purchase materials to now make hundreds of the boxes.
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"By Saturday evening we had enough plexiglass to make 600 boxes secured and donations and a bending machine and a website and a Facebook page," DeBlasio said.
The boxes, which can be disinfected after every use, are made from bent plexiglass and glued together. Two holes are cut out to allow the patients to be treated.
Vona hopes to complete another 150 boxes by the end of Tuesday.
Among the Massachusetts hospitals that have requested the boxes are Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, Emerson Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Nashoba Valley Medical Center, Lawrence General Hospital, Sturdy Memorial Hospital and Lowell General Hospital.
Because DeBlasio's nephew is a firefighter, he also wanted the boxes to be of use to first responders. Several fire departments are also on the list for delivery, including Plainville, Townsend, Littleton, Westford and Melrose.
"I was feeling helpless as people I know were on the front lines fighting this fight for us," DeBlasio said.