KEY POINTS

  • Hospital supplier Owens & Minor expanding capacity to address global medical gear demands
  • The company CEO Ed Pesicka hinted adding the fifth shift to manufacture face masks and other protective equipment
  • The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. has surpassed 104,000, according to Johns Hopkins University

Hospital supplier Owens & Minor has increased factory production to address the rising demand for protective medical equipment. The demand for face masks and other medical gear continues to rise due to coronavirus pandemic.

Owens & Minor CEO Ed Pesicka spoke with Jim Cramer of CNBC about expanding capacity in the existing facilities.

“We are in the process of actually expanding capacity, but that’s going to take probably 5 to 6 months to make sure that you have the capability to expand that capacity,” Pesicka told Cramer in a recent “Mad Money” interview. He revealed that, apart from the U.S., other parts of the world has also witnessed a sharp increase in demand.

According to Pesicka, Owen & Minor is planning to add a fifth shift to ease the production cycles and avoid wearing the employees out.

Meanwhile, people are coming up with creative ideas to address the grave issue of dwindling face mask supplies. Dr. Bruce Spiess at UF Health spoke with TV20 about his idea of reusing hospital materials to make face masks.

He revealed that surgical tools are wrapped in an impervious material, which can prove to be effective against bacteria, germs, and viruses. “Last Thursday night in the middle of the night at 2 am I woke up and said hey that impervious material might have the right properties to filter bacteria and microparticles,” he said.

The doctor said that he will start making the masks with people who are willing to come forward and sew. “I hope every hospital does what we are doing here in Gainesville which is to reach out to the community, and every hospital has a grassroots development of people who are going to sew and feed them back the masks they need for their first responders.”

The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. is close to 1,700 with 104,007 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York City has reported the most deaths (450) in the country.

US President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion rescue package into law to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus outbreak US President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion rescue package into law to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus outbreak Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON