BAYONNE, NJ - Four prominent Bayonne businessmen donated 15 advanced respirators to Bayonne Medical Center to help save the lives of people struck with COVID-19 virus.

The four men Dr. Paul Hirso, a psychiatrist, Jean-Malo Ribault, an engineer, Richard Van Kiet, a computer technician, and David Nadolski, a project manager, put aside another project to develop an inexpensive respirator that could help fill the shortage, they said.

Mayor Jimmy Davis said Tuesday that the men approached him last month with the idea of adapting an MIT-designed respirator that could be used to supplement the shortage of life-saving equipment.

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“When I heard about this, we started working together to make it happen,” Davis said.

Slightly larger than a toaster oven, the device costs a fraction of the $30,000 traditional respirators and can be operated by a nine-volt battery, power from a car lighter or by plugging it into a wall socket.

“This means it is portable and someone can even be treated in an ambulance if necessary,” Davis said.

“We were trying to find a low-cost respirator,” said Ribault. “We adapted an MIT design from open source. Our goal was to come up with something that was 10 percent of the cost of a traditional respirator.”

While these are not “full-fledged” respirators, as Hirso described them, they are built to fill in until the more traditional model is available.

During a ceremony held at Bayonne Medical Center hospital officials said they would be expanding COVID-19 testing to include asymptomatic seniors living in centers/assisted living facilities in Bayonne, after starting with first responders and other key public safety personnel. They will then expand testing opportunities to the wider community. 

Anti-body testing will start on May 19 at the hospital site with or without a prescription.

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