As the national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to strain health care workers combating the coronavirus outbreak, multiple private sector firms have stepped up to fill the deficit and manufacture gear like face masks and even ventilators.
For many corporations both small and large, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in economic uncertainty as employees are instructed to stay home. But one Maryland business, however, is reopening its doors to help fight the spread.
Hatch Exhibits, based in Elkridge, Md., is a small company that makes custom booths and pop-up venues for companies showcasing their product. Owner Chris McCormick had worked with big names, like YouTube, Under Armour and Google, according to The Washington Post.
After ceasing production out of safety precautions against COVID-19, McCormick reworked his construction space to produce the vital PPE that hospitals across the country are sorely lacking.
McCormick’s previously furloughed employees are now working on designing face masks and sanitary gowns made from craft paper and other materials used by Hatch staff.
According to the company's GoFundMe page, Hatch employees have also created headgear sets that act as protective face wear, along with the masks and gowns. The PPE has reportedly been reviewed by multiple medical facilities and Hatch has sent shipments to clinics in Michigan, Maryland and Arizona.
The total fundraising goal is $100,000, presumably to keep emergency operations afloat. The Post notes that McCormick has sold 10,000 units of headgear for about $10 per unit. McCormick notes that he understands it would have cost significantly less several months ago.
McCormick and Hatch Exhibits staff are currently working to modify its supply chain to make its products less expensive.
“While some facilities are able to purchase PPE in bulk, others are forced to rely on donations from companies like Hatch and people like you. Every dollar donated will go directly to the production and delivery of PPE to medical providers in need. Currently, a $10 donation can provide a custom headgear/shield unit and a $15 donation can provide a medical gown,” the page states.
Multiple companies and some industry leaders have pledged to shift manufacturing capabilities to support the creation of PPE during the coronavirus pandemic. Car manufacturers like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla all pledged to keep employees working and by creating critically scarce ventilators. Even fashion designers like Christian Siriano and medical television shows are creating and donating face masks to hospitals.
President Trump also invoked the historic Defense Production Act, a World War II-era law that expedites the manufacturing and distribution of emergency supplies during a national crisis.
Currently, the U.S. leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with 86,012 reported nationally, according to Johns Hopkins data.