Amid warnings of an impending shortage of protective equipment for medical staff, a coalition of textile companies is organizing a national effort to ramp up production of face masks for healthcare workers on the front line of response against COVID-19.
The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO) says at least nine textiles companies – including Parkdale Mills, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom – are creating a manufacturing supply chain for the masks, heeding, as the NCTO puts it, “the call of nation” to help.
According to the organization’s statement, these marketplace competitors are “banding together for the greater good of a nation facing one if its most monumental challenges.”
Across the country, medical workers face a shortage of personal protective equipment. Health officials have said that panic-buying of the masks by people who do not need them can exacerbate the shortage, forcing health care workers to reuse or improvise protective equipment, often with greater risk.
NCTO noted that Anderson Warlick, president and CEO of Parkdale, worked closely with White House officials to expedite the process through “bureaucratic red tape,” allowing production to begin soon after the masks were approved and certified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Production was scheduled to begin on March 23, with deliveries starting within days. When full capacity is reached in about four to five weeks, the coalition expects to produce up to 10 million face masks per week.
Based on information from the National Council of Textile Organizations, Charlotte Observer and WBTV.