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Massachusetts has ‘millions’ of masks on order to fight coronavirus

“We need as many masks and PPE and swabs as we can get in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

‘Millions’ of masks and swabs for coronavirus testing are on order for Massachusetts, officials said during a Monday press conference

In recent days, hospitals have put out a call for help as supplies to protect the medical workers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic dwindle. The call is being answered by crafters sewing masks and local construction unions, alike.

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Sound on! We made a video tutorial today…for folx looking for instructions on how to make a fabric face mask. Vimeo link in our profile. Thanks to Kayla for doing all the hard work – we made lots of face mask versions trying to come up with one for the confident beginner. That’s YOU! Thanks to everyone who asked us if we knew about the fabric mask initiative. We will post info about being a drop off location in the coming days. Thanks to @stephaniecavedesignstudio for spearheading this initiative to collect and distribute face masks in Greater Boston. Love this maker community so much!!!! Go forth and make something! 💖 #IHeartInman #SupportYourLocalBusinesses #WeAreWhatWeMake #GatherHereCambridge #MakeSomethingHelpOthers

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Rhode Island-based Honeywell announced Sunday it was immediately expanding the manufacturing of N95 face masks to help respond to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The company is hiring at least 500 people as production ramps up on the masks, which will be delivered for the federal stockpile. 

“We are honored to support the U.S. government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “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.”

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said Monday he and other state leaders have been working on a “three- or four-pronged approach” to getting more personal protective equipment, also referred to as PPE, to healthcare workers. 

“Prong number one is to continue to chase PPE, personal protective equipment, through the federal stockpile,” Baker said. “I’ve had direct conversations with federal officials about this stuff and they’ve made commitments, and we’ll see if those commitments actually happen over the course of the next several days. The second piece is to chase gear through U.S.-based manufacturers.”

Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said the state has “confirmed” orders for millions of masks and swabs so far. 

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“We are also in the process of working with a variety of organizations who have contacts and relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in other parts of the world, to see if we can get gear in from there as well,” Baker said. “So this remains one of our highest priorities.”

Sudders also said the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is out Monday picking up equipment that has been donated as part of the state’s partnership with MassBio, MassMEDIC, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, and the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals. The partnered effort, launched Friday, formed the Massachusetts Life Sciences Emergency Supply Hub, which will coordinate bringing supplies and resources to state health care institutions. 

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“We need as many masks and PPE and swabs as we can get in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Sudders said of a target for the state’s equipment stockpile to fight COVID-19. “An initial goal would be about three million across the supply chain that you would want.”

On Monday, Baker issued an order closing all nonessential businesses in the state and urged people to stay home except for essential activities to slow the spread of the virus.

The steps are being taken  to “give public health experts the time they need to ramp up additional steps that must be taken to effectively push back the virus,” Baker said. 

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Every step we all take to cut down on the chances this thing has to spread, is a way to help our communities get through it,” the governor said. 

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