TSU to make virus protection masks, hand sanitizer amid COVID-19 outbreak

Posted at 7:57 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 08:57:16-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee State University’s colleges of agriculture and engineering will start making virus protection masks and hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission asked the university to use their 3D printing machines to design the masks.

The state just received a very limited supply of 9,000 surgical masks and 1,700 face shields from the federal stockpile. However, that's not enough if the virus becomes more widespread.

"What we're concerned about is, in two or three weeks the people who are carrying around the virus now who have now symptoms become symptomatic that we see a real stretch on the health care system and we see the PPEs, the protective equipment, in short supply. We have a couple weeks breathing room, but that doesn't mean anybody is being complacent,” said Sen. Steve Dickerson (R – Nashville).

The College of Agriculture is also making hand sanitizer and sharing instructions on how people can make their own. They’re producing the alcohol-based solution to make available for campus police and residents at Schrader Acres assisted living facility neat TSU.

As a reminder, doctors say, the best way to help them is to keep social distancing.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.