To help meet the growing demand for personal protective equipment, Intermountain Healthcare switched its printing production and is manufacturing tens of thousands of protective face shields for Utah caregivers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 50,000 face shields are expected to be finished by the end of this week.

Leaders at Intermountain’s Supply Chain know face shields are an important piece of PPE but are normally only used during large outbreaks. Due to global demand and rising prices they are difficult to acquire in large quantities. So, in late March they brainstormed ideas, and within five days had a face shield tested and ready for mass production.

Face shields offer another layer of protection to keep caregivers safe from the coronavirus and tend be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Caregivers don’t have to wear goggles when using a face shield and they can help prolong the use of N95 masks which they help cover. The polycarbonate material the shield it made of is strong enough to be cleaned and sanitized for multiple uses.

“I was amazed at how quickly we were able to go from an idea to a usable face shield that can last,” said Scott Schofield, director of supply chain services at Intermountain Healthcare. “Thanks to businesses and partners in the community we’re now churning out thousands of shields every day.”

Intermountain has redeployed 20 caregivers to assemble the face shields at their Supply Chain facility in Midvale.

Local organizations and companies, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and University of Utah Health, are helping with the effort by supplying materials and logistics in making the face shields.

Because everything is being shipped and assembled locally, the turnaround for getting them to frontline caregivers is much faster.

“It’s great to see how the investments we’ve made in our supply chain and community partnerships are paying such huge dividends in helping with this pandemic,” said Schofield.

Shipments of face shields have already gone to Intermountain hospitals, University of Utah Health, and the Salt Lake VA Hospital. Intermountain plans to ship them to any other hospitals in Utah that need them.

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