Organizations from both the public and private sector have teamed up to launch the Made in NC initiative, a collaboration between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), The Nonwovens Institute at North Carolina State University, Freudenberg Performance Materials, UNC Healthcare, the NC Healthcare Association, NC Medical Society, NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Pediatric Society and NC Academy of Family Physicians to manufacture N95 respirators that will serve the needs of North Carolina health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Made in NC collaboration will produce 100,000 to 200,000 N95 respirators per month, right here in North Carolina, providing a more consistent and affordable source of PPE for local health care systems. Collaborating organizations include:
Blue Cross NC provided an initial investment of $450,000 for the purchase of two mask molding machines capable of producing safe and reliable N95 respirators locally, as well as for the procurement of materials and supplies used to produce these respirators.
The Nonwovens Institute developed a new, unique spunbond material that provides cost-efficiency and serves as an effective filter for N95 respirators.
Freudenberg Performance Materials will provide the manufacturing expertise and workforce needed to install, operate and maintain new production lines in NC.
UNC Healthcare will source infection prevention experts to perform rigorous testing to ensure respirators meet industry health and safety standards.
NC Healthcare Association, NC Medical Society, NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Pediatric Society and NC Academy of Family Physicians are providing support for purchase and distribution through an easy-to-use digital platform.
The collaboration aims to ensure the state’s frontline health care workers receive the critical personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to keep themselves and their communities safe, while addressing the urgent need for affordable access to essential PPE. Additionally, the collaboration among these organizations ensures the expertise needed to achieve careful production and distribution at the highest quality and safety standards to increase equity in access to masks, especially in communities that need them most.
For further information, see the full news release: