By Nancy Dahlberg
This is part of a series of news roundups about startups and organizations in the South Florida tech community navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. Send items for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and please stay healthy and keep your families safe.
INNOVATING: CarePredict develops contact tracing tech for nursing homes
There are now over 400 senior living and nursing homes in the US that have residents with COVID-19. With over 2.3 million seniors living in these types of facilities, the need to stop senior communities from becoming coronavirus breeding grounds is critical.
The team at CarePredict, the South Florida-based AI-powered digital health company focused on senior care, took on the challenge. In a two-week sprint, the startup developed and began offering CarePredict PinPoint, contact tracing technology that can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in senior living facilities.
Once a suspected carrier has been identified, CarePredict’s location tracking capabilities allow facilities to know within seconds all the individuals and places an infected person came in contact with, the company said. With that information, facilities can isolate individuals who have been exposed and re-sanitize specific areas of the facility in order to curtail the spread to healthy individuals and save lives.
“Ensuring the health and safety of seniors is at the heart of what we do at CarePredict, and this has never been more relevant than today,” said CEO and founder Satish Movva. “In situations like these where everyday matters, CarePredict’s PinPoint toolset can effectively and quickly help stop the spread of the coronavirus in senior living facilities.”
CarePredict’s main product lines help caregivers care for their patients or family members by detecting activity and behavior patterns that are precursors to conditions such as UTI, depression, malnutrition, and increased risk of falls well in advance so caregivers have this knowledge and can help them. The tech company, founded in 2013, has offices in Plantation and Menlo Park, CA.
MAKING: Local maker and educational communities producing COVID-19 face shields
In a rapid-fire response to the shortage of personal protective equipment for health workers treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the local maker and educational communities are stepping up by laser cutting and 3D-printing reusable face shields. The face shields act as a first line of defense for our embattled healthcare workers.
The Moonlighter FabLab, a local Maker Space in South Florida, enthusiastically joined the call for help when just a couple of weeks ago, Facebook group called Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies tarted to connect makers across the globe. “We knew we needed to put our advanced fabrication equipment to work and start producing these open source designs for medical professionals who desperately need them. When we reached out to our local plastics supplier, Faulkner Plastics, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they had already converted their space into a production facility for face shields. We immediately joined in and are now utilizing our laser machines to cut out the plastic shields – about 1,000 every 25 hours!” Moonlighter co-founder Tom Pupo wrote in a blog post.
That's not all. Just recently the National Institutes of Health approved a few 3D printed designs for use in hospitals, making it easier for hospitals to approve the shields, Pupo said. “So we’re joining in on printing those as well.”
Pupo says if you have access to a 3D printer, you can use this NIH link to create PPE for your local medical professionals: https://3dprint.nih.gov/collections/covid-19-response
Florida International University has stepped up, too.
FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts (CARTA) mobilized its 3D printing facilities, faculty, staff and students to produce a minimum of 1,000 face shields for Baptist Health, which has 11 hospitals and more than 150 urgent care centers and physician offices in South Florida.
Architecture students working from home modified an open-source design for the face shields, which were then emailed to CARTA staff to print at home, FIU said in a news release. "I am extremely proud of our colleagues' creative problem-solving expertise and their unyielding commitment to the safety and well-being of our community each and every day," said Brian Schriner, dean of CARTA.
Students worked with Baptist leaders to ensure the specifications of the face shields were appropriate for patient care.
“The challenges we are facing today with Covid-19 are truly unprecedented – but so too is the response that has arisen to solve them,” Pupo wrote. “The best sign of appreciation we as makers can show to our medical professionals on the front lines keeping us healthy and safe is to work just as tirelessly to supply them with the protective equipment they need,”
VIRTUALLY YOURS: Accelerators and gathering spaces going virtual
Every Friday in April, TheVentureCity plans to host free office hours with its experts, including CEO Laura Gonzalez Estefani and its specialists in product development, growth marketing, data science and finance. “Entrepreneurs can send a request to email@example.com, with their name, startup and a request for a consultation, and we will connect them to the team member whose expertise matches with the topic for a 30 minute video call.” Said Rosa Jiménez Cano, chief of Ecosystem Relations.
Meanwhile, VentureCafe Miami’s ThursdayGathering, which attracted hundreds every week BC - before Covid -- has been convening via Slack and Zoom. VentureCafe is offering all its traditional Thursday programming, plus some new content, just like it used to but virtually. After checking into VCMVirtual, you’ll get instant access to the Zoom links to join any of the sessions, office hours or networking, but BYOBeer -- (and yes, the check-in count toward the number on your name tag).
How is #MiamiTech surviving and thriving through this pandemic? Tell us. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish occasional roundups throughout this pandemic.
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