You’ll need to wait until Monday to get the latest on Wellesley’s COVID-19 numbers from the town, which doesn’t update the stats over the weekend unless a significant change takes place. But we can see from the state data released on Saturday that Waterstone at Wellesley has been added to the list of assisted living facilities with less than 10 cases reported (maximum bed capacity listed for the facility is 52). Waterstone has a general message about COVID-19 on its website, but no case-specific updates.
This past week was a traumatic one for long-term care facilities in town, as cases at 2 of them boosted Wellesley’s total to 163 as of Friday. These facilities have recently undergone broad testing, which has revealed dozens of positive tests.
Kids aim to print 1,000 face shields
Wellesley’s Catherine Curran, a 6th grader at the Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, is part of a contingent of kids taking part in the Kids Print to Protect (KPP) project to crank out 1,000 face shields for heathcare workers.
This effort is addressing a health crisis that is only too real for these students. Curran’s great uncle was diagnosed with COVID-19, recovered, but then passed away because of the virus’ effect. “Most of my friends too know people who are infected. I continue to think of these people every day, along with all of the others infected. It’s all so surreal and scary.”
The KPP project is led by 11-year-old Eric Zhang of Weston, who along with his 9-year-old twin brothers Alan and 30-plus more kids from 11 schools have taken up this cause. Many have 3D printers at home. Empow Studios and Zhang’s school, Jackson Walnut Park, have lent printers to the cause.
Zhang says the project’s origins came from watching the news and seeing a story about 3D print of face masks.
“I thought ‘Huh, interesting but not really feasible,'” he says. “Then I saw that Josef Prusa, founder of Prusa3D, was 3D printing face shields. I was like ‘I should do that too!'” The shields provide an added layer of protection over masks, are more reusable, and cost less and take less time to make, he says.
Unsure of whether hospitals would take shields from an 11-year-old, Zhang headed to the National Institutes of Health website and found the organization’s recommended face shield and printed one out. “When it worked I thought ‘Wow! I can help!’ I got so excited and came up with the… number of 1,000 face shields. And well here I am.”
Where’s he’s at is roughly a couple of weeks away from completing 1,000 shields. More than 100 each have been delivered to facilities such as Tufts Medical Center and Beth Israel Deaconess in Milton.
Wellesley’s Curran, along with siblings Daniel and Grace, got involved in the project through friendship with the Zhangs. Based on Curran’s explanation, this sounds like quite a professional operation. “I am working as a Public Relations Co-Head and a Fellow in Donor Relations,” she says.
Curran says social distancing has been tough, but that she’s using the opportunity to learn new things online in math and explore new passions. It sounds like the shield-making endeavor is an experience she and the other kids involved won’t forget.
Moms & meals
Wellesley Mothers Forum has been active supporting healthcare workers as well. The moms have provided meals to Newton-Wellesley Hospital workers, and their kids have shared art and letters of support.