Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 04-09-2020

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 THE VALLEY APRIL 9-15, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION PHILIP TRAPASSO of North Smithfield demonstrates one of the face shields he's using 3D printing equipment to make from home. appointments online to donate at its six donor centers. Half of the RIBC's blood donations in the region come from blood drives hosted by schools, organizations and businesses, and as these groups have taken precautions in response to the coronavirus outbreak, those outside efforts have been called off. The RIBC moved its operations to the six donor centers where staff can control the environment and flow of donors. To help them maintain social distancing between donors and keep a steady blood supply available for patients, said Kara LeBlanc, of the RIBC, donors must book appoint- ments online at donate.ribc.org/ donor/schedules/centers . "The need is great, and it is safe to donate," said LeBlanc. One of the most fascinating steps in the process for someone walking in the door, after going through the screening process and filling out easy paperwork, is to learn the option of a double red blood cell donation instead of a full blood donation, which allows someone to donate two units of red blood cells for a better final product. As it was explained to this writer by staffers Amy Goldman and Kerri Hays during my double blood cell donation last Thursday, a doctor could take my blood and do a direct transfusion instead of mixing it with blood from others and risking a reac- tion in the patient. And the best part is that this slightly more involved process, where plasma and platelets are returned to the donor by the same machine, counts as two dona- tions. The flow of donors has been pretty consistent since the start of the pan- demic, said staff members. Many of those coming through the doors have told stories of how they've never donated before but wanted to get off their couch and help in some way. Every donation is critical right now to ensure that there aren't shortages in the weeks ahead, they said. Peggy Butenas, a longtime Lincoln resident, retired pharmacist, and regular donor, was back at the Woonsocket location last Thursday giving her regular donation, interact- ing with staff on a first-name basis. "I donate as my way of giving back," she said, adding that she gives blood in memory of her mentor. The RIBC is looking to double blood reserves now to prevent short- ages if coronavirus cancellations continue for an extended period of time. Blood on the shelf today helps women and newborns during com- plications with childbirth, people battling cancer or undergoing che- motherapy, those who have suffered trauma, those with heart and kidney disease or blood disorders, and people who need transplants, among others. Some local regular donors said they were unable to find a time slot at least a week out as appointments filled up for the coming days. No one who has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 is allowed to donate, and there are other restrictions relat- ed to the virus as well. The RIBC does not test for COVID-19. There is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion, states the organization. A single donation can save multiple lives. DONATE From Page One Making face shields from home NORTH SMITHFIELD – Companies aren't the only one mak- ing face shields for local hospitals. Since several designs for 3D-printed face shields have emerged online, schools and hobbyists are also par- ticipating in the response. Philip Trapasso, a resident of North Smithfield, is one of those using his own equipment to supply face shields to local hospitals. After his fiancé began making cloth face masks, he said, he looked for a way that he could contribute. "It all started because I was actu- ally getting some anxiety about the whole pandemic situation, so I thought to myself, 'Maybe if I do something about it, it'll make me feel a little bit better,'" he said. A mechanical engineer by trade, Trapasso has two 3D printers at home that he uses for work and personal projects. After finding a face shield design on the National Institutes of Health website, he began printing shields, producing one about every hour and a half. He reached out to friends in the medical field and local hospitals and has since sent shields to Landmark Medical Center and Yale New Haven Children's Hospital and been in contact with Boston Children's Hospital. He plans to order more equipment to cut down on produc- tion time. Family and friends have also helped with the effort, pitching in to help purchase supplies. "My real hope here is that these don't need to get used," he said. "Ideally, the medical staff would have access to really high quality top notch equipment, but if they don't have access to that and they're going to give care to someone, this could be a backup for them." Burrillville High School students have also started producing face shields, delivering their first batch of 11 shields to the Harrisville Fire Department. Under the direction of engineering teacher Andrew Aldrich, students are using 3D printing equip- ment to make the shields and already have an order of 200. Supporters have set up a GoFundMe page to raise donations for the project. The page is available on gofundme. com under "BHS Engineering – Face Shields for First Responders."

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