Mary Johnson, Polaris MEP Growth and Strategy Manager, was quoted by in a Providence Business News feature on local manufacturers who have pivoted in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“[Johnson] said local manufacturers tend to be producers of components, putting parts into larger products. This has complicated efforts to create, within Rhode Island, complete products needed for COVID-19. So, for example, even masks will require most companies to collaborate with other partners.
‘We don’t necessarily have the ability to pivot an entire company to make … and we don’t have the equipment to turn out masks at a rapid rate. They’re going to be hand-stitched,’ she said.
At least half a dozen products being put together by Rhode Island companies are being evaluated by the R.I. Department of Health now, she said. They include nasal swabs or protective gowns.Nevertheless, everyone has wanted to help. And many companies are creating products by linking those supply chains.
‘There are companies that already make the material that goes into the gowns. Now the gowns are cut or sewn, or built locally,’ she explained.”