BERKELEY, Calif. - A business in Berkeley is yet another example of people pivoting their regular work in order to help health care workers protect themselves from coronavirus.
In this case, it starts with a baseball cap and a sheet of plastic: an innovative approach to personal protective equipment or PPE.
The business is mass producing what it calls CapShields and giving them away for free here in the Bay Area and across the country.
Berkeley company makes cap shields during coronaivrus.
Inside a warehouse that normally produces robots and prototypes for a variety of applications, shop manager Chris Taggart designs a face shield to protect doctors, nurses and others.
"They were telling me horror stories. They were trying to save people's lives and they don't have the protection they need," Taggart who is with People's Protective Equipment team that is producing CapShields.
The protection that Taggart and volunteers are producing starts with a baseball cap with a piece of plastic attached to it.
It's designed to be worn over the face masks used by health care workers
Taggart said he's heard from doctors and nurses across the country
He said the CapShields are easy and inexpensive to make.
Many baseball caps are donated.
"You mark four slits on them, fold the template, fold up the tabs and snap on the polycarbon," said Taggart.
For each, one dollar for the material and one minute to make, but invaluable to those receiving them.
"Some of the times, we work outdoors. Having a visor helps us on sunny days," said Zeb Romine, an ER nurse, who works outdoors at times when triaging patients in tents.
He said he and other nurses at the East Bay hospitals where they work appreciate the added protection.
They now have to wear the one face mask provided by the hospital all day when they should be changed each time they treat a different patient.
"I think everybody, inside and outside the hospital, is scared. We haven't seen anything like this before," said Romine.
So far, Taggart and his team have shipped 10,000 CapShields here in the bay area and across the country.
The project started with funds out of pocket, but has now turned to donations through a GoFundMe.
Taggert said the majority of the funds goes towards paying for shipping in response to requests from across the country.
"It becomes very personal for me when you start talking to people like that. They've never met me in their life. They break down crying on the phone," said Taggart.
He and his team plans to produce the face shields as long as it's needed.
While talk about reopening the country has started, Taggart said he has not seen requests taper off.
He said he's receiving about 1,000 requests a day.
To learn more information, visit People's Protective Equipment.
Amber Lee is a reporter for KTVU. Email Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter@AmberKTVU