SPARTA, NJ- Life may be slowly returning to pre-coronavirus normal allowing a moment to recognize some who worked behind the scenes to do what they could to help.  Vanitha Rodrigues, Chief of Radiology at Newton Medical Center has been working with people in Sparta and Ogdensburg to create face shield and face shield holders using 3D printing technology.

Early in the crisis, Rodriguez reached out to David Costa, Sparta Library director to access the library’s Makerbot Replicator Costa said.  Josh Knospler, a tech assistant from the library found three designs that they used to build the scarce personal protection equipment back in early April.

The project began at the height of the pandemic, Rodrigues said.  Costa and Rodrigues “efforts were boosted by the Pope John high school robotics team and principal Gene Emering.”  She said Pope John donated two 3D printers to the cause.

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Ogdensburg’s school’s Makerbot 3D printer was also used for the project. Joining local efforts to make as many face shields as possible, Rodrigues said they have “jointly made and distributed up to 1000 face shields,” primarily printed at the Sparta Library.

Pope John robotics team members Ryan and Anika Rodrigues printed an additional 100 bases and about 400 to 500 mask guards.  Kevin Nolan also from Pope John robotics team printed about 100 and Connor Snellings from Sparta High School added another 50, according to Rodrigues.

According to Rodrigues the team has distributed face shields and mask holders to

  • Newton Medical Center,
  • St. Barnabas Medical Center,
  • Morristown Medical Center,
  • Hackettstown Medical Centers,
  • image care centers,
  • outpatient offices,
  • the Maternity Labor and Delivery unit at Newton Medical Center,
  • Andover Subacute facility
  • local dental practices and  
  • Sparta Helps Healthcare Heroes.

She said at least 300 to 400 mask guards were made for an Atlantic Health project at Morristown Medical Center. 

“The shortage of PPE nationwide due to the catastrophic onset of the pandemic got the local community geared into volunteer mode,” Rodrigues said. “There have been many many efforts in the community to help healthcare heroes and this is one of them.”

This was funded entirely by the individuals participating as a way of giving back to the community without and donations or fundraisers, Rodrigues said.