Mayor Steven L. Reed today accepted 10,000 donated face shields on behalf of the City of Montgomery from the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) and Aflac.
“Every day, brave front line personnel across our community are treating people infected with the COVID-19 virus, placing their personal health at risk. These face shields will provide much needed protection as we continue to fight this pandemic,” said Mayor Reed.
The shields are intended for frontline employees in higher risk positions, or essential employees, specifically within healthcare, but can be expanded to other areas with approvals and based on need. The clear, lightweight shields provide full protection for full coverage and are reusable following proper guidelines. Montgomery City County EMA staff will be tasked with distributing the masks to various entities across the community.
Once the COVID-19 virus reached pandemic proportions, it became evident that supply chain obstacles were making it nearly impossible to meet the demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) manufactured in China. A group called the Academic-Government-Industry Collaborative for PPE Development, Supply and Production for the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States mobilized quickly to address the need for high-quality supplies produced in this country. Dr. Joanna Newton of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) is part of the group.
“The work that went into those shields is the product of hundreds of people from different organizations and manufacturing sites across the country to solve this critical problem,” Dr. Newton said.
The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) established a framework to mass produce a face shield design from Georgia Tech utilizing manufacturing processes from ExxonMobil. Insurance provider Aflac was approached for a $500,000 contribution to support the program, but generously gave $2-million.
Montgomery physician Mary Karst, Alabama Power and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce were involved with pursuing face shields in response to growing infection rates in Montgomery.
“There are over 100 people from around the country involved in this effort, and most of us have never met in person before.. It is a testament to our national resolve and commitment to defeat this virus,” said retired Brigadier General Trent Edwards, Senior Vice President of Military and Community Development at the Chamber.
Evergreen, Alabama native Sherry Farrugia, CHOA Chief Operating and Strategy Officer, also worked closely to ensure the face shields donation to Montgomery became a reality.