As Pennsylvania continues to take measured steps to reopen, Governor Tom Wolf today praised Pennsylvania businesses that have pivoted to produce critical products during the COVID-19 public health crisis, which undoubtedly contributed to the commonwealth’s efforts to protect public health and safety.
As the governor and Department of Health took critical, life-saving steps to help mitigate the spread of the contagious and deadly virus, Pennsylvanians adjusted their everyday lives to protect themselves and their families, friends and communities.
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve emphasized that every Pennsylvanian has a part to play in getting us through this crisis with the best outcomes for our health and our economy. We’re already seeing some of the results of these efforts — new case rates are declining and testing and contact tracing efforts are increasing,” Gov. Wolf said. “We accomplished these feats through the hard work and sacrifice of everyone, from individual Pennsylvanians who, every day, take part in social distancing and hygiene efforts to curb the spread of this virus, as well as the numerous businesses that have made use of their facilities to manufacture much-needed supplies.”
The governor highlighted several of the numerous Pennsylvania-based businesses that stepped up to assist first responders, health care systems, and life-sustaining businesses by shifting production to much needed medical equipment, products used for personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitization.
Textile manufacturer Gitman Brothers of Ashland, Schuylkill County, one of the few remaining fabric manufacturers in our state, has retooled its operations to create antimicrobial hospital gowns.
In Pittsburgh, Thread International shifted its focus from making backpacks and other products to creating protective face shields for the hospital network. While following social distancing guidelines, the company hired an additional 15 people to contribute to the production of thousands of shields a week.
Crazy Aaron’s, in Norristown, Montgomery County, transitioned from making Thinking Putty, a learning slime for children, to manufacturing hand sanitizer, and the company has been donating this hand sanitizer to municipal workers, healthcare facilities, public utilities and first responders in the Norristown and Philadelphia communities.
New Pig Energy of Tyrone, Blair County, a company that focuses on containment in the energy sector, expanded its operations to supply FDA-registered, World Health Organization-formula medical-grade hand sanitizer and disposable American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-certified full-face shields.
A team of dedicated employees at Braskem America in Marcus Hook, Delaware County, sheltered in place at their workplace for 28 days, vowing to make material for personal protective equipment. Braskem shifted its production line capacities to focus on the enhanced availability of the raw material needed to make N-95 medical face masks, medical protective gear and protective food packaging.
United Metal Fabricators in Johnstown, Cambria County, which makes medical equipment, worked to provide emergency beds for field hospitals across the country.
Sports apparel maker Fanatics in Easton, Northampton County, shifted from making baseball jerseys to safety masks and gowns for health care workers.
“These production efforts are still ongoing and are continuing to help us build our stockpile in anticipation of a resurgence,” Wolf said. “Whether big or small, I am grateful to every business and every worker who assisted in this effort.”
Recognizing the needs of both our frontline workers and the businesses expressing a desire to help, DCED and the departments of Health, General Services, and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency joined forces to facilitate the connections needed to bolster the critical personal protective equipment supply chain and put Pennsylvanians back to work.
The Wolf Administration’s announcement of the development of the Critical Medical Supply Portal, where Pennsylvania businesses can submit information to support the creation of critically-needed medical supplies, and the Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, where businesses’ critical supply chain capabilities, needs, workforce gaps, and innovation opportunities can be assessed for collaborative production efforts, were made in direct response to Pennsylvania’s business communities stepping up to the plate during this difficult time.
The portals are linking manufacturers directly with a dedicated team of case managers who can thoroughly evaluate their needs and seamlessly connect them with the appropriate resources or partner organizations who can provide additional support.