Lehigh Valley Companies Step Up To Fight COVID-19 Outbreak
By Colin McEvoy on March 27, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for communities across the nation and the world. But the Lehigh Valley business community is stepping up and addressing those challenges head-on, with several companies diverting from their regular business practices to help fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
Below is just a sampling of the efforts by Lehigh Valley companies. LVEDC and Made Possible in Lehigh Valley will share these stories over the upcoming weeks. To let us know what your company is doing, contact us at [email protected].
Discover Lehigh Valley is also sharing inspirational stories from individuals, companies, restaurants and attractions in the Lehigh Valley during the coronavirus pandemic. To share stories with Discover, e-mail Kaitie Burger at [email protected].
Fanatics, the sports apparel company that makes Major League Baseball uniforms, is now using its Palmer Township manufacturing facility to make masks and gowns for hospitals and emergency personnel fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The company plans to produce up to 1 million masks and gowns from the same fabric – pinstripes and all – that they normally use to make jerseys for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. Manufacturing efforts could be extended if necessary.
“We’re proud to partner with MLB to support emergency personnel who are fighting against COVID-19 and face a need for masks and hospital gown,” the company tweeted.
Filament Innovations & ProtoCAM
The masks can be custom-fitted for the wearer’s face to maximize its protective efforts, and the companies are researching measures for sterilization and reuse.
“By helping keep our doctors, nurses and health care teams safe, it helps prevent the spread to their loved ones and others,” Kara Mascitti, St. Luke’s medical director of health care epidemiology and infection prevention at St. Luke’s, told LehighValleyLive.
The Upper Macungie Township-based LifeAire Systems manufactures air purification systems, which were originally designed for use at in vitro fertilization clinics. Now those systems are being used to fight the coronavirus.
LifeAire can modify its products into existing air purification systems in hospitals, health care settings, and senior living facilities. One of the company’s systems was already previously installed at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown, and LifeAire is in talks to install them at other sites.
“LifeAire’s patented design is mathematically and genomically modeled to kill or inactivate the most infectious biological pathogens, including – but not limited to – COVID-19,” the company stated.
Lehigh Valley distilleries are pivoting from spirits to sanitizer to help Lehigh Valley residents and health officials weather the coronavirus crisis.
Eight Oaks Farm Distillery of Lynn Township, converted their operation into a production line for hand sanitizer due to the lack of supply for those in need. Additionally, Bethlehem’s Social Still has begun making sanitizer for the Lehigh Valley Health Network.
“This is an unprecedented time that we’re in,” Eight Oaks founder Chad Butters told CNN. “I don’t think it’s a time for panic or chaos, but it is a time for a sense of urgency and purpose, and I think that’s what’s happening within the community.”
Freshpet is looking to help their employees as well as local restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hanover Township, Northampton County-based pet food company is giving each of its 400 workers a $50 gift card every other week for use at one of five locally-owned restaurants.
“We hope that by thanking you for all that you are doing with a meal that we can do something more: also help a local business,” the company said. “That is the ‘people’ part of our ‘Pets. People. Planet.’ commitment.”
When Gov. Tom Wolf’s business shutdown order first came down, it was initially unclear whether Hanover Township, Lehigh County-based JULABO USA met the state’s definition of an “essential business.”
So the manufacturer of liquid temperature control instrumentation systems asked its customers directly and the answer they received was clear: they are absolutely essential. Now they’re fielding product orders from pharma labs working on vaccines, research, discovery, therapies, and cures related to COVID-19.
“It was both a proud and humbling moment to know that even though we’re somewhat removed from the frontlines, we’re doing our part,” the company said.
Palram Americas, which has manufacturing plant in Weisenberg Township, makes polycarbonate or PVC protective partitions, barriers and face shields, among other products.
Those products are more important than ever to help impede the spread of infectious diseases during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In these uncertain times, ensuring the health and wellness of our employees, customers and patients is critical,” according to the company. “Palram is here to support you and your business with solutions to protect our communities.”
Chamber and BB&T, now Truist
A $150,000 grant pool has been established for Lehigh Valley businesses and nonprofits seeking relief as a result of COVID-19.
The pool was made possible through a partnership created by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and BB&T, now Truist, along with business leaders like Tom Groves of Equinox and David Jaindl.
Businesses can seek up to $2,000 each for rent, payroll, and other operating expenses. For more information about the program’s guidelines and how to apply, visit here.
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