A hospital in Haifa on Friday became the first facility to use a new type of protective mask created in Israel for medical personnel treating patients with COVID-19.
The face covering, which was developed by Rambam Medical Center’s research department and the Technion, is attached to a pump that sends filtered air into the mask. This is designed to help prevent infection from droplets, which is how the coronavirus is primarily transmitted.
The transmission of filtered air into the mask “creates a sort of ‘air curtain’ that separates between the doctor and the surroundings that may include the virus,” Dr. Ronen Zalts of Rambam, the first hospital to use the mask, told Channel 12.
“The air comes from a pump near the waist, flows through a tube that goes to the forehead area and is emitted through holes in a special fan fixed to the forehead,” he explained.
The fan has a small groove into which is inserted a thin plastic slide that serves as a mask, protecting whoever is wearing it from droplets with the virus, added Zalts, the first person to use the new system while treating a coronavirus patient.
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Profession Ezri Tarazi of the Technion said the system was created using already existing parts, except for the fan, which was produced on a 3D printer at the university.
According to the report, the air blower is based on one used by the Israeli military’s Home Front Command for defense against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Besides proving better protection against droplets, the system was also designed to address complaints from medical workers about the heat generated by the amount of protective gear they are required to wear and that these high temperatures can cause their masks to fog up, impeding their vision.