As we are all coming to grips with the severity of COVID-19, I wanted to supply you with a quick update on what we are doing at EJ Victor to help fill the needs of our local healthcare workers.
We started last week by reaching out to a local hospital to see if there is anything we can provide, and it was brought to our attention that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the most critical item needed throughout the country. Our initial product sample for them was a protective mask cover that medical professionals can wear over their N-95 respirator masks in order to extend the lifespan of the masks which are most in need. These masks are made from products that we already use and can be washable in order to cut down on the total number that is needed.
Secondly, we prototyped a disposable gown that was requested which are made from a surgical-grade paper. Given that these items are repeatedly changed and discarded throughout the day, there is a demand for many more of these items than currently in supply. We are working with a local fabric finishing company on what type of coating can be put on this fabric for an additional protection for healthcare workers.
We fielded a request from a regional nursing home company about providing masks for their residents as well as from other companies that are looking to protect their workforce. We have since sampled a two-ply cotton mask with cotton fabric on the outside and cotton flannel on the inside. While this mask is by no means meant to take the place of a respirator, it will provide some level of containment.
We became extremely concerned last week about the reports of hospital shortages and triage centers being set up around the country. Given the spread of disease and the number of people who will need multi-day observation, there is a growing concern over where to put individuals who do not need ICU or ventilator access, but will definitely need medical assistance while they are convalescing. We have worked with our local partners to sample and build an adjustable cot/bed that can be put together in minutes, as well as providing medical-grade curtaining to create an immediate triage facility as needed.
Lastly, we are working with local non-profits The Industrial Commons and The Carolina Textile District to engage as many local individuals with sewing and cutting capabilities to join forces on these issues (we are currently at over 500 sewers signed up!). We will be using a portion of EJ Victor’s factory space as a staging and distribution area to get raw materials in the hands of those that can help and from there get the products out to those most in need.
We are doing all we can in this time of need, and we are leaning in to do everything we can. I would urge any vendor that has products that could be put to use to lean in with us, and for everyone else, if you can, donations are being taken by the Carolina Textile District which is a 501c3. Being a manufacturer of items for the medical field is not our day job and we are learning more every day, but we are viewing this as a war-time response in that we will do whatever we can to help.