Coronavirus and Morgantown WV

Last Updated: 4/6/20 by Ataes Aggarwal

Summary

  1. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  2. The entire state of WV has issued a stay-at-home order. The Stay-at-Home order requires West Virginians to remain in their homes and residences and leave only for essential services or activities. It is mandatory, and not merely guidance or advice.
  3. WV has 345 cases (and 4 deaths) and 53 cases in Monongalia county as of Monday, April 6, 2020.
  4. There are many good people coming together around the world and in Morgantown. Morgantown natives and M&S co-founders, Ashok Aggarwal and Sanu Chadha, along with everyone at M&S are trying to move the needle and encourage everyone around us to do everything we can. This isn’t the kind of thing we should wait for someone else to solve for us, so we are getting involved and creating solutions.
  5. GoFundMe page has been setup to support the various Morgantown COVID-19 Innovations. Multiple teams are working diligently in improving current solutions out in the market and designing new ones, with the aim to have the best solution on our side.

Your support will help enable our community's ability to continue to deliver designs and solutions to help medical practitioners and the general community in tackling COVID-19.

Face Masks and Shields

To protect the community, please wear face masks! There is a discernible correlation between the level of attention paid to mask usage and the spread of COVID-19. In countries like Italy and Spain, there is little mask usage. Sadly, these countries have been suffering through many cases of the virus (over 110,000 cases in both countries). On the other hand, countries such as South Korea and Japan have had a strong mask-wearing culture; thus, they have seen few cases, despite being close to the virus’s hearth (3,100 cases in Japan and 10,100 in South Korea).

The importance of wearing a mask is even further emphasized relating to asymptomatic (not showing symptoms of the virus) people. Folks who have no symptoms and go into public settings can still be infectious. Although there is only a correlation between virality and mask-wearing, it is certainly better to have some protection than no protection against COVID-19.

Homemade masks, made of cotton or fabric lined with copper, silver, or even with a pocket for a filter, can help protect you from getting COVID-19. It also does protect you from potentially infecting others when you breathe, cough, or sneeze, though. Droplets, during these actions, can spread up to 50 feet with air movement.

DIY Face Masks

Below is a video that shows how to make a face mask from home without sewing materials or a 3D printer. One should note that cotton is a great fabric for making these masks.

Here is another excellent resource for making masks; it has a lot of important information pertaining to why masks are useful. The video also explains that mask users must wash their masks. This is essential because if virus particles were trapped in the mask, one could ingest those particles by touching the mask or wearing it again after use. Another very important point the video makes is that only one person wearing a mask will not make a large difference, but if a large majority is wearing masks, this could really help deter the virus from spreading (along with social distancing and hand washing). So, please let friends and family know of these easy but crucial steps to help keep the community safe.

Printed Face Masks

There are also open-source resources for 3D printed masks. The Montana Mask is a reliable design from Billings Clinic. Basic directions for printing the mask on the clinic’s website are available.

In addition, Dr. Manu Aggarwal has been working to provide an open-source design for printable masks. Updates on this design will be provided in the future.

DIY Face Shields

Our friends at Intermed Partners (Dr. Tom McClellan, MD and Dr. Justin Chambers, PhD based in Morgantown, WV near Mon Health) have designed a face shield that is ready to be used locally at Mon Health and shared with the national guard to be used throughout the US. It uses simple materials that can be found in many homes and all hospitals: a napkin, string, hole punch, stapler, and transparency paper. Below is a how-to video of making the face shield as well as an image you can share with anyone (here is printable PDF).

Morgantown native, Ms. Shawna Toth-Merrill, who heard about the project via social media from fellow Morgantown High School alumna, Ms. Kara Elizabeth, also creatively suggested another version of the face shield design that would include removable films (similar to what motocross riders use) that would allow face shield users to throw away a layer of transparent film at any time, such as when changing rooms/environments. This solution is something you can experiment with on your own and Intermed may consider in a separate version of the face shield design.

Printed Face Shields

3D printing has become increasingly popular in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a lack of purchasable face shields. There are many designs online for 3D printed face shields, and a group called Prusa Research is one of the leading groups for these open-source designs.

Image

Call to action: Start making these at home if you have the materials and donate to any essential businesses (please check the PPE section towards the bottom of this page) to protect people that need to be out and about during this stay-at-home order.

Ventilator Solutions

“Why such a demand? It is a respiratory illness for a large number of people. So they all need ventilators. Non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. You don't have the same turnaround.” Andrew Cuomo (Governor of New York), Thursday, March 26, 2020

Ventilator Splitting

Some hospitals in New York have already been faced with over-extensions of the healthcare infrastructure that have forced them to use techniques that allow multiple patients to use a single ventilator. Prisma Health (in SC) has introduced an initial design and open-sourced to hospitals which, once again, Intermed Partners in partnership with Mon Health has been working on implementing and testing. Ventilator splitting solutions come with challenges, so Intermed has been improving the designs to allow for greater efficacy of the device in real-world use cases. They are also working closely with Dr. Paul Gera, MD at Mon Health. The Intermed design is called VSplitr. Intermed has released the designs for VSplitr this can be printed by anyone with an FSM 3D printer. Others in the community like Mon Health Foundation, M&S Consulting, and individuals at Mountain State Capital are chipping in by connecting hospitals and front-line experts (anesthesiologists) with this technology as well helping Intermed increase operational capacity to ramp up production of the devices.

Morgantown natives, Dr. Manu Aggarwal, MD, MHSA and Dr. Samir Patel, MD, are also helping to bring ventilator splitting technology to hospitals and anesthesiologists in their Lima, OH community.

Dr. Tom McClellan, MD has also identified a colleague in New York that he will plan to send VSplitrs to in the week of April 6th.

Call to action: If you have FDM 3D printing equipment and would like to print VSplitr, please see the below link for a .zip file containing instructions as well as 3D printing .stl files. If you have any questions, please contact Intermed Partners or you can use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with them.

VSplitr 3D Printing Instructions

Morgantown native and WVU senior, Noah Adams, as well as others in the Morgantown community are already beginning to print VSplitr. Mr. Adams has already helped introduced additional options for the orientation of the components which have been reviewed with Dr. Chambers and incorporated into VSplitr instructions.

BiPAP

Syneos Health (an M&S client based in NC) has published the following call to action about how standard BiPAP machines can be used to spare the use of mechanical ventilators.

If you know a healthcare provider who is now treating COVID-19 patients, this is information we believe will help them manage the ventilator shortage. Additional medical education will be on our COVID-19 BiPAP Information Center page.

COVID-19: Surviving the Ventilator ShortageThis is a podcast intended for the healthcare professional. Critical-care pulmonologist Dr. Keith Robinson, MD, MS, FCCP describes how to use standard hospital BiPAP machines with the intubated patient to spare the use of mechanical ventilators.

Call to action: Please share this page (and this link in particular) with anyone you know in healthcare so they can get this to the right people.

Automatic Ambu-Bag Squeezing

New York has ordered 7,000 Ambu-bags that could be used to manually resuscitate patients. The national guard is being trained on how to do this, but the number of people and length of time to manually squeeze Ambu-bags could be enormous. Intermed Partners, as well as others at MIT, Minnesota, and others are in the process of designing engineered solutions to automate squeezing of the Ambu-bags. MIT is working on receiving FDA approval for their design which they plan to open-source. Our intention in Morgantown will be to begin manufacturing these devices locally as soon as the week of 3/30/20.

Call to action: If you have FDM 3D printing equipment, laser cutting equipment, and/or water cutting equipment, please contact Intermed Partners or you can use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with them.

Donations: PPE, Blood, and Food

Local healthcare and essential business employees are in need of personal protective equipment (PPE). Morgantown native, Dr. Cynthia Walsh, MD, has been working to collect PPE from anyone in the community and delivering it to local organizations. Following are some examples of PPE:

  • the Intermed face shields from above
  • N95 respirators
  • gowns
  • gloves
  • face shield/eye protection, etc.

Additionally, Dr. Walsh is getting the word out about blood donations and will be happy to answer any questions you might have about donating blood during this time.

Lastly, Dr. Walsh is interested in hearing ideas on how we can help in the effort of making healthy meals for people in healthcare and others working in essential businesses that also likely have families at home.


UPDATE from Mr. Steve Caldwell (3/30/20) on Blood Donation Drive:

Location: WVU Erickson Alumni Center

Dates:

  • Thursday, April 9
  • Monday, April 13
  • Tuesday, April 14
  • Thursday April 16
  • Friday, April 17
  • Monday, April 20
  • Wednesday, April 22

To make an appointment, please go to RedCrossBlood.org and use the sponsor code: WVU ALUMNI

Any WVU student who donates blood will receive four credit hours on iServe

All presenting donors will receive a $5 Amazon.com e-gift card emailed to them. Not redeemable for cash.


Call to action: If you have any PPE that could be donated, any questions about blood donation, and/or ideas on providing meals please contact Dr. Walsh on her Pineview Gynecology Facebook page use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with Cindy.

Shoutouts and Inspiration

COVID-19 Testing Pop-up Tents

We at M&S are currently partnered with Mr. Alex Go and Freed Associates to help UCSF healthcare adapt to working from home effectively while continuing to deliver high quality healthcare services in the Bay Area. Freed has devised a 48-hour playbook to help healthcare organizations set up pop-clinics (tents) that can quickly test for COVID-19. This concept could be particularly useful to set up in remote areas of WV and could become something that is needed all throughout the country as people are leery of going to a populated hospital for testing if they have contracted COVID-19.

Call to action: If you know of healthcare administrators that might be interested in setting up pop-up clinics for testing COVID-19, please contact Freed Associates or you can use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with them.

Dr. Ivan Martinez, PhD

Our frequent collaborator on community service initiatives, Dr. Ivan Martinez, PhD of WVU's Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cell Biology, has been a leading expert in RNA research and an authority on COVID-19 quoted in numerous articles. For example, USA Today has published a very informative article on what coronavirus does to your body where Dr. Martinez's has provided valuable insights. Additional articles where Dr. Martinez has contributed are below:

Call to action: Please continue to support and encourage all our fellow West Virginians to lend a helping hand along with our amazing expertise and grit to help the world overcome this pandemic.

WVU Engineering Innovation Hub Mask Extenders

Kelsey Crawford, Josh Bintrim and Gene Cilento from the Innovation Hub, a prototyping center in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, have successfully created surgical mask extenders that reduce the pressure behind the ears, affording the user increased measure of comfort.

The original design was created by HP as a 3D print mode. The Innovation Hub team worked diligently to modify the designs to be compatible with a laser cutter and waterjet.

The information and files provided in the zip file can be used to make extenders. It includes dimensions, materials, instructions for cleanliness and design files.

Call to action: If you have the production capabilities to create the mask extenders, you can contact Gene Cilento, Innovation Hub Director to donate to WVU Health Sciences or or you can use our contact page and we can help deliver to Mon Health.

The WVU Community

The WVU faculty, staff, and area students have been a force for good with their creativity coming together from multiple different disciplines to attach COVID-19 in our community. Perhaps one of the most impressive efforts has been led by Beth Shorrock who is making 10,000 masks for use by WVU Medicine, Charleston Area Medical Center, and the United Way.

Call to action: To get involved or make donations of densely woven, 100% cotton and elastic, contact Beth at elizabeth.shorrock@mail.wvu.edu.

Connections in Virtual Reality

With the stay-at-home order in WV, loved ones are no longer able to see each other as often. This is particularly agonizing in situations where loved ones are holding on for their lives. Morgantown native, Ms. Tina Mascaro, is working to provide mobile devices (particularly old iPads, iPhones, and iPods) that are capable of video calling (with technology like FaceTime) to people in hospitals and nursing homes in the area.

Call to action: If you would like to donate a device that could be used for this purpose, please contact Tina on Facebook or you can use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with her.

Volunteer as a Tutor

Daidre Fanis (from M&S in North Carolina) had a wonderful idea for college and/or high school students - As schools and libraries across the country have temporarily closed, there is a shortage of available tutoring services – an extension of “learn at home” – to support students who need additional learning emphasis on particular subjects.

This creates an opportunity for students who have time available, to make themselves available to tutor younger students (kindergarten through 12th grade) on core subjects. Core classes include K-12: Math, Reading, Literature, Writing and Science, etc.

Call to action: Utilize your local, social media channels such as NextDoor app, Facebook and school communication sites to advertise your services and availability. Setup a virtual meeting room to host the tutoring sessions. Think about whether you would charge for your tutoring services, or donate your time without charge. If you have any questions or suggestions around this idea please use our contact page and we can help you get you in contact with Daidre Fanis.

100+ People Who Care

Mr. David Goldberg, CEO of Mon Health, has been a lightning rod of innovation, quality, and community service since joining our community in 2018. Along with being a strong supporter of COVID-19 and other medical innovations, he took the initiative to start a chapter of the very successful 100+ People Who Care initiative here in Morgantown. At this time, many people we know are wondering how they can get involved. We hope we beat COVID-19 soon and these feelings of giving and getting things done better together continue for a long time to come. If you are interested in learning about local charities and ways that you can donate, please consider joining and learning more at https://www.100pluspeople.org/.

Call to action: If you would like to join, please learn more at the 100+ People Who Care website or use our contact page and we will get you in touch with the right people. We hope to see you at the next meeting.

Other Ways People can help?

We know there are many amazing initiatives and great people not mentioned here. Please reach out to us and let us know about them (especially those with connections to Morgantown and WV) so we can publish the information here. It will inspire us and help us inspire others in our community in the process.

Call to action: If you know of other ways people can help or have other ideas, please use our contact page and we can try to incorporate it into this page.

Information Links

  1. CDC COVID-19 Info
  2. CDC COVID-19 Twitter
  3. City of Morgantown COVID-19 Info
  4. Mon County Health Dept COVID-19 Info
  5. WV Dept of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 Info
  6. WV Stay-at-Home Order - please read for specific guidance
  7. WVU Medicine COVID-19 Info
  8. WVU COVID-19 Info
  9. Mon Health COVID-19 Info
  10. JHU COVID-19 Interactive Map - created by one of our friends