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N95 masks in full production as world faces further COVID-19 spread

As demand outpaces supply, manufacturers get creative

March 25, 2020
PJ Boyd

Production of N95 masks has ramped up as the world grapples with the effects of COVID-19. (Getty Images)

Companies across North America have begun extensive productions and distribution of protective face masks as COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide.

Both consumers and health professionals alike are searching for more personal protective equipment (PPE) to lower the risk and slow down the path of the coronavirus.

With confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada approaching 2,000, more people are taking the safety precautions necessary to keep themselves and others safe from virus spreading.

This has included the shutting down of non-essential businesses, placing people of higher risk in self-isolation and others working from home.

High demand for face masks

For those who cannot work remotely, PPE has been one of the first purchases they consider — especially face masks.

The N95 surgical mask is a personal protective mask that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.

Many distributors and manufacturers of the N95 have begun hiring on more staff to allow for faster productions.

Others are trying to distribute and donate to people in need, as well as to health professionals. The need, however, is much higher than the supply.

3M, Honeywell prioritizing orders

3M expects demand to outpace supply for the foreseeable future, according to board chairman and CEO Michael Roman.

“Our products — including respirators, surgical and procedural masks and hand sanitizers — are being used globally in the response to the outbreak. We expect demand for these products to outpace supply for the foreseeable future,” he said in a press release.

“We have notified our authorized distributors that we are prioritizing orders to help serve our base business — including hospitals — due to high global demand.”

Other companies such as Honeywell have begun expansions in their manufacturing into production of the N95 mask. In doing so, they plan to produce millions of N95 disposable respirators to support the U.S. government’s efforts in battling COVID-19.

“Our Rhode Island facility already produces industry-leading safety gear and soon will play a critical role in supplying the Strategic National Stockpile with N95 masks,” stated Honeywell chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk in a press release.

MSA donates entire stock

As more N95 face masks hit the production table and more consumers and health professionals begin to seek them out, distribution companies such as MSA Safety have begun to help out as well.

Although they do not produce the masks themselves, MSA Safety has pledged to donate their entire stock of N95s to health professionals in Pittsburgh.

“These 65,000 respirators are directly helping medical professionals working throughout our region. We are also working with the White House to determine how MSA can respond to the administration’s request for other types of respirators that could be used in the COVID-19 battle,” said a press release by MSA.

They are among many companies that are planning to use their resources to help further the production of PPE during the pandemic battle of COVID-19.

In Canada and the U.S., car companies have also begun to expand their productions to contribute to health-care workers.

These car companies include Ford, General Motors, and Tesla. For their part, they plan to partner with manufacturers of medical devices to help with the production of ventilators, respirators, and face shields.

Further PPE needs expected

As the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak continues and the demand on PPE increases, other PPE items will also become scarce.

With the ongoing need for PPE, SW Safety — which specializes in hand health — is warning of the eventual shortage and need for nitrile and latex gloves.

“At a time of increased demand, it has set a path towards a global shortage of single-use gloves,” stated company president Belle Chou.

“It is essential that we start to build awareness and encourage those in non-critical care environments, to help manage the available supply of single-use nitrile and latex gloves the same way they have for N95 masks.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread and more distancing measures are put in place, these companies will be making the first steps in helping with the production of PPE resources.

PJ Boyd is an intern with Annex Business Media.


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17 Comments » for N95 masks in full production as world faces further COVID-19 spread
  1. J crawford says:

    What Canadian companies are making M95 masks, medical gowns, face shields, respirators, and medical gloves NOW for Canadian hospital use???
    If there are any, what are the output per day/ per week of these items?? Are we Canadians in worse shape than the Americans in attempting to acquire the above noted items?

  2. NOAH HUANG says:

    I am a Canadian with extensive business network in China. I can help Canadian hospitals to source these products from qualified Chinese manufacturers if you connect me to the procurement departments of Canadian hospitals. Let them provide me with the specifications, quality requirements and quantity they need for each category.

  3. Aaron says:

    I drive shuttle for railroad crews and we are not being given proper ppe and it is scary coming to work knowing we are not protected.

  4. Peter G says:

    My company is producing Face Shields for health care workers. We are a small business based here in Richmond Hill, Canada and would like to help with the relief effort in any way possible by repurposing our production facility. If you are a health care worker or have connections to any clinics or hospitals who are in dire need of these resources, I would love to get in touch with you.
    Unlike many others, we are not looking to profit off this and are offering the shields at our cost of production.

    • Anna says:

      Peter G. that’s great! You can contact the Canadian government at http://www.buyandsell.gc.ca. I also found the following on govt site: if you can help provide supplies..please contact the National InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148 (Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm Eastern) or by email at BPME.OSME@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca.
      Thank you for any contribution to our country!

  5. Max says:

    Anyone have any ideas on irradiating as a way to sanitize/reuse some PPE?

  6. Ken says:

    Our Small community’s Creston BC and Cranbrook bc need your help we can’t even get enough personal hygiene needs furfilled please send us n95 masks and any PPE equipment you can so many seniors in our community’s prevention goes a long way to stopping the virus

  7. Christine Payne says:

    What about using KN95 Masks? What’s the difference?

  8. Cameron Ree says:

    Like everyone, I am also looking for a source for N95 respriator masks for the travel industry.
    If someone has a reliable and legitimate suppply line, this would be much appreciated.
    I am looking for 1 million pieces for delivery in 60-120 days.
    Thank you very much.

    • Oly Zeuch says:

      Hello Cameron,
      I can help you with any quantity of masks you are looking for. We are supplying for companies and industries all over the world. Have vetted and have access to multiple factories in China . No quantity is too large. Contact me, I can send info

      Oly Zeuch

    • Olaf Zeuch says:

      Hello Cameron,
      I can help you with any quantity of masks you are looking for. We are supplying for companies and industries all over the world. Have vetted and have access to multiple factories in China . No quantity is too large. Contact me, I can send info

      Olaf Zeuch

  9. Joseph Cacioppo says:

    Hi Cameron,
    I have a source for 3M N95 1860 masks, I’m waiting for a small shipment,
    perhaps we can connect to see if I can be of assistance.
    globalonlinefinancial@gmail.com

  10. Shawn says:

    Hi there I’m looking for a manufacturer for n95 8210v masks with numbers around 700,000,000 contact info is shawn@besocialyeg.com

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