CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A Citrus County nurse is working to convert full-face snorkel masks into protective gear for medical workers on the front lines in the coronavirus pandemic.
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Jennifer Englert said she came up with the idea, and her son 3D-printed an attachment for the snorkel gear.
Inside that attachment is a CPAP filter along with part of a N-95 mask.
With the converted mask on, Englert said they wouldn’t have to wear an additional mask over their mouths or a face shield.
“Basically, the issue with the N-95 masks is once they get wet they’re worthless," Englert explained. "So with what I’ve done it’s extremely protected — unless you spit in the top of it, it’s not going to get wet."
Englert works at a local hospital in Citrus County. While they have enough protect equipment right now, she said these are a good backup plan if things get worse.
“I’m looking ahead to what New York is going through and masks are pretty scarce up there,” she explained. “Even as little as we’ve been hit with it the nurses are like 'OK, what’s next?”
And she says medical professionals in the area are interested in getting a converted snorkel mask for themselves.
“I know at least three of my nurse friends that looked at it and said, 'I want one,'" Englert said. "I didn’t even finish the conversation and they want one.”
So far, she has three of the masks made, but she’s hoping to get more done as soon as she can to give medical workers another option if supplies run short.
Crystal River Watersports is serving as a drop-off point if anyone has a full-face snorkel mask they’d like to donate.