OC nurses make homemade face shields for hospitals on frontlines of COVID-19 response

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- They are on the frontlines of a potentially deadly battle.

They are doctors and nurses who treat those struggling with COVID-19, all the while dealing with a desperate shortage of face masks, gloves and other medical grade gear needed to shield them from the novel coronavirus.

But some health care workers are done waiting for that equipment.

With the growing spread of coronavirus around the world, medical workers are running into dangerous shortages of personal protective equipment: the face masks, gloves and other medical grade gear needed to shield them from the virus.

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When Belle Miller and her husband Jeremy Miller aren't working as registered nurses in Orange County, they and some friends and family are making plastic face shields in the Miller's garage.

"So you could basically put your mask on and put the face shield on top," said Belle Miller. "It kind of adds that extra layer of protection for you."

On average, the Miller operation is cranking out about 100 face shields a day that they distribute to local hospitals. The couple initially spent about $700 of their own money doing this, but set up a GoFundMe page asking for few thousand dollars.

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"We got that within a couple of days," Jeremy Miller told Eyewitness News.

Belle quickly corrected him. "24 hours!" she said.

The Millers aren't alone.

Dr. Marc Kerner is an ear, nose, throat surgeon who has his staff upgrading standard surgical masks to almost N95 standards using HEPA filters for household HVAC systems.

"If you don't have a surgical mask or a low end surgical mask, you could certainly sew this or staple this into fabric," said Kerner.

He points out that you have to make sure the filter fabric is facing the right way when you sew it into the mask.

Kerner says the masks are even better at protecting people out in public than standard face coverings, but he uses them over his valued N95 masks to make them last longer.

But even with a stepped up face covering, Kerner says people still have to practice physical distancing and other safety measures.

"If you could wash your hands, wear your gloves, wear your masks, you'll be all good," said Kerner.
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