A group of textile manufacturers are coming together to produce up to 10 million face masks for hospitals and health care workers fighting the coronavirus. A Gastonia-based company is leading the effort.
The nine companies are shifting their production to replace depleted supplies of N-95 respirator masks with a new model recently approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. N-95 maks are in high demand because they effectively filter out water droplets that can spread the coronavirus from one person to another. Hospitals and health care facilities have struggled in recent days to maintain a supply of these masks and other personal protective equipment for their workers.
Gastonia-based yarn company Parkdale Mills leads the effort. The group consists of manufacturers that usually compete with one another. It includes well-known companies like Fruit of the Loom and Hanes, as well as Beverly Knits, also of Gastonia.
The group started work on Monday. In a press release announcing the effort, the group says it will ramp up mask production over the next five to six weeks, and expects the first deliveries to go out by the middle of this week.