Computer modeling to understand, track and prepare for COVID-19
National models of COVID-19’s spread may be of limited use to state and local planners because the models generally average population data instead of considering the distinctive character of smaller regions. Sandia Labs researchers are using regional data provided by the State of New Mexico to determine the most effective regional distribution of medical supplies and resources and where pop-up testing centers would be best located. Sandia researchers have applied these techniques to other states and localities across the United States.
Testing for COVID-19
To protect mission-essential functions, keep our workface safe and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 at Sandia facilities, Sandia became the first Department of Energy lab on April 7 to start testing its workforce for COVID-19 infection. Starting next week, we will extend our testing capability to DOE and NNSA employees in Albuquerque and to members of workforce at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. By converting several biological research labs, Sandia now has the capacity to test hundreds of samples each day. Lab operations follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New Mexico Department of Health guidelines for handling COVID-19 samples to protect lab workers, others and the facility.
Manufacturing R&D for personal protective equipment, supplies
Sandia Labs has joined a coalition of national labs aiming to help ensure the nation has access to COVID-19 medical supplies. The coordinated effort is using innovative engineering and technology, such as 3D printing to bridge supply-chain gaps in masks, ventilators and one-time use supplies, such as testing swabs. Examples of this effort are Sandia’s method of converting hospital-grade BiPAP machines into ventilators and the labs’ help in assessing new decontamination processes to enable the reuse of N95 masks. With an eye to the future, the coalition is focusing on long-term solutions that could be applied broadly if the pandemic lasts longer than anticipated or returns in the future.