March 23, 2020
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed

Manufacturers step up to help produce medical supplies, from N95 masks to ventilators

With hospitals already running short of crucial protective equipment, manufacturers are stepping up to fill the gap.

Jeff Kaas, owner of Kaas Tailored in Mukilteo, worked with Providence Everett Hospital last week, and within days had created a template and process to produce thousands of medical-grade surgical masks and face shields. Kaas put the digital files needed to create the products on his website, sharing them for free with any manufacturer willing and able to do the work. Already the designs are being put to use in 25 states and Europe.

3M has ramped up to maximum production of N95 masks, which can filter out the COVID-19 virus. The global manufacturer is now making nearly 100 million per month. It is making 35 million reusable respirators per month. The company is shipping them out as quickly as possible, CEO Mike Roman wrote on Sunday, noting that 500,000 were just shipped out from South Dakota, and are set to arrive today in Seattle and New York.

Honeywell has done the same thing, creating 500 jobs as it produces millions of the N95 masks in Rhode Island. The masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent 50,000 N95 masks to the University of Washington Medical Center out of supplies at Tesla factories.

The CEO of Bothell ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems said he feels "the weight of the world on our shoulders," The Seattle Times reports. He's working 5 a.m. to midnight to find help in supplying parts for the intricate machines as key materials are unavailable due to slowdowns in the international supply chain.

AWB sent an email to our manufacturing members on Friday to determine which businesses could potentially help with production of urgently needed medical equipment to assist doctors, nurses and other health care workers on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.

Over three dozen manufacturers from across the state quickly responded to say they would be willing and able to shift from their usual production and begin manufacturing items that will be needed in the months ahead.

Based on communication with the Washington State Hospital Association, the most urgent need is N95 masks. Other supplies are short as well:

• Gowns
• Shoe covers
• Isolation or surgical masks
• Face shields

If you're a manufacturer who is interested in helping in this way, please contact Brian Mittge at AWB.

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Be There for Local Business

In this unprecedented time of coronavirus, we need to be there for local businesses

By Maribel Perez Wadsworth and Kevin Gentzel, USA Today

The safety measures that have forced us indoors and away from others to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are the right thing to do. We're confident our strength and resilience will carry us through. But we also recognize our small business owners need us more than ever as they take their own precautions.

To emerge from this with our communities strong and intact, we need to ensure that what make them special -- the coffee shop down the road, the local car dealership and our neighborhood music teachers -- are able to stay afloat.

While we may not be able to give them our patronage in person right now, there is much we can do to show our support.

Visit your favorite restaurant's website and purchase gift cards for yourself and others to keep some money flowing to their bottom lines. If those restaurants are still offering takeout or delivery, make a point to order from them now and again soon. And get gift cards for massage studios, arts and crafts stores, local jungle gyms and myriad other businesses.

If your local shops sell their merchandise online, make purchases -- even if the goods won't be available right away.

If you're shopping online for things you'll need while in self-quarantine, like home exercise equipment or activities for the kids, seek out local businesses to make these purchases...

Read the full column in USA Today
Speak Up for Clean Power

Don't let Snake River dams be a coronavirus casualty. Call in to save them

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

In our community-wide effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, we must not become so focused on the pandemic that we neglect other, critical issues facing the Tri-Cities.

Of upmost importance is protecting the Snake River dams, which continue to be in jeopardy.

Last week's time for phone-in comments on the recently released, federal draft Environmental Impact Statement has come and gone, but there are three more scheduled over the next two weeks, and Tri-City participation is crucial.

Considering many people have hunkered down in a semi-quarantine, this could be a good way to spend some time. Why not prepare a statement and send in your testimony, either online, by mail or by calling it in?

Knowing you are helping to protect reliable power production and the region's economy could be invigorating. And it could take your mind off the disease for a little while...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald