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New high-tech mask comes to Jacksonville to protect against COVID-19

The process to make the mask reminds some of a "Mission Impossible" movie.

It reminds Ehren Allen of watching a "Mission Impossible" movie. Allen is a physical therapist with Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute (JOI).

He's talking about the process of making a custom, high-tech mask for frontline workers. A facial scanner reads a person's face and records a 3-D image to make a mask.

It's called an ActivArmor mask, and the prototype arrived in Jacksonville April 10. The masks are made from a hard plastic used in waterproof casts, a common site at JOI. 

Dr. Kevin Kaplan, an orthopedic surgeon and lead physician from JOI for the Jacksonville Jaguars, got that first prototype mask.

Dr. Kaplan says it provides a "tight seal" around his face. He likes the fact he can take out the filters, change them, and also clean his mask. It's reusable.

The clear front, Dr. Kaplan says, helps in "communication with my patients" because they can see his mouth. It's extra helpful for the hearing impaired, who read lips. 

JOI is partnered with ActivArmor for this project. The company in Colorado just starting using its cast material for masks in early April. 

Credit: JOI

Allen says the ActivArmor masks are made in compliance with FDA regulations for COVID-19. 

How do you get one? Call JOI at 904-858-7045. Your face will be scanned at JOI in San Marco. The mask will be made in Colorado. Right now the turnaround time is 3-7 days. You can see the color choices in the photo above.

Allen says doctors at Baptist Health are already ordering the masks.

It cost $25 to be scanned. That's an at-cost fee to JOI. The mask costs $140 to buy from the Colorado company.  If you are a frontline worker in the pandemic and that cost is too high, call the number above and ask for help. Allen says they'll work with you on the price. 

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