YNMG & COVID: Making It Happen

Apr 20, 2020

We devote Episode 46 to local companies and makers who have switched up what they create or kicked production into high gear to make personal protective equipment and parts for ventilators. They're trying to fill the gaps at hospitals, for first responders and for other essential workers in New Mexico. 

Until the pandemic, 5 Ton Monkey did fabrication for movie sets. Now, they've been cranking out thousands of face shields. Folks there are also helping other shops figure out how to do the same thing, and they're developing a kit box so most people can put them together at home. We talked to founder Adam Eisman about how this might be the most important work they ever do.

KUNM's Megan Kamerick interviews David Peabody, a UNM professor in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology about his research into a COVID vaccine. The excerpt we used is part of a longer interview on this episode of University Showcase that aired Friday.

Marpac Medical Manufacturing builds equipment for hospitals specifically related to respiratory illnesses. In addition to ramping up production (with many factory employees there working overtime), the company is supplying parts for hospitals around the state, keeping up with their national customers, and trying to develop something as good as an N95 respirator that they can manufacture. We talked to Marpac's Dave Mayberry, a designer and the project lead for the respirator, about how the company is making decisions around which orders to fill. 

Liam O'Brien is the director of the AFRL Maker Hub, a makerspace on the Kirtland Air Force Base that is using 3D printers to create face shields. He talks about basic materials that are starting to become scarce. 

Dena Thomas-Aouassou, director of FUSE Makerspace, talks about the projects people are taking on there, including intubation boxes for ventilators that are going to the VA Hospital

And Susan Matteucci, the executive director for Southwest Creations Collaborative, tells Megan Kamerick about switching modes and making masks and gowns for first responders and other city workers, including sanitation staff and the folks in the school system distributing food.

And a news update: The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state is closing in on 2,000. Many of the new cases today were in McKinley and San Juan counties, according to the Albuquerque Journal, which overlap with parts of the Navajo Nation. And there were three more deaths today, making the total 58. 

Small business owners—maybe about 20 of them, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican—circled the Roundhouse in Santa Fe today to demand that the state reopen. 


We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.



How are things going for you? We want to know. Share your quarantine stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.


Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.