Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) received funding to produce face shields for staff treating patients who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are exhibiting symptoms.

Earlier this month, PMC employees presented the idea of using 3-D printers to produce frames for face shields, which are recommended for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. When they heard about plans for the project, officials with SOAR and The City of Pikeville stepped up to help fund the project. The idea was approved, six printers were ordered and production began this week.

“We are honored to partner with Pikeville Medical Center and The City of Pikeville to support the medical center investing in equipment to create face shields for its employees working on the frontlines to combat COVID-19,” said Jared Arnett, Executive Director of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) “During these unprecedented times, we have witnessed what makes Appalachia Kentucky special – our people and our willingness to come together and work together to help our neighbors in need.”

Officials with the city of Pikeville expressed the same sentiment. “PMC is a vital part of our community and this region, but even more so now due to COVID-19,” explained Pikeville City Manager Philip Elswick. “Personal Protective Equipment is critical to maintaining the health of our medical personnel as they treat those infected by this virus and countless other medical issues. Because the staff of PMC is so important to our city in many ways, the City of Pikeville is pleased to match SOAR’s grant to produce PPE facial shields.”

The administration at PMC is thankful, not just for the funding, but for the overall support shown by SOAR and the city of Pikeville. Because of nationwide shortages of PPE, this partnership will allow these face shields to be produced here at Pikeville Medical Center, saving the medical center thousands of dollars. In addition to the cost savings, this project is also potentially saving jobs.

“Being able to produce this PPE for our front line staff is crucial not only for the PMC employees who will use it,” explained PMC Vice President of the Board of Directors and CEO Donovan Blackburn. “The employees making the face shields have been identified as ‘at-risk’ because of health reasons. This allowed us to keep them working in a much more controlled and safer environment.”

For more information about other steps Pikeville Medical Center is taking to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.pikevillehospital.org/covid19.