As society is working to navigate these sometimes-overwhelming changes in consideration to the quick spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), this is a time where communities are rallying together for a common cause.
Healthcare systems are increasingly running out of necessary supplies, specifically personal protective equipment (PPE), but local businesses and community members are actively playing their parts to provide anything they can.
West Michigan businesses are shifting their manufacturing to make a difference. These efforts can be seen through multiple different stories of medical gowns, hand sanitizer, protective face masks, and more.
Thanks to a temporary relaxation by The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to their regulations allowing beverage distillers to make denatured alcohol, multiple alcohol distillers have begun producing hand sanitizer for donation to hospitals or free distribution to the public.
According to an MLive article, New Holland Brewing Co. is using their facility to make hand sanitizer for local healthcare facilities, and Holland-based Coppercraft Distillery said it plans to donate a total of 10,000 gallons to Holland Hospital with the first batches becoming ready early this week.
Another business, Petoskey Plastics, re-tooled and created samples in 5 days, and are now manufacturing isolation gowns for hospitals.
Even companies apart from manufacturers are doing what they can. For example, JOANN is opening their classrooms and providing the necessary supplies and equipment for community members to make face masks and covers, gowns and other items to donate to America’s hospitals.
Pioneer Construction Inc. and its subcontracting partners provided Spectrum Health with 600 masks and has provided light towers for Coronavirus testing sites.
However, it doesn’t stop with these businesses, and health care providers will continue to have needs beyond these supplies.
Fill the Gap
When our West Michigan neighbors, Spectrum Health, reached out to various companies in search of any and all personal protective equipment they could find, OMT-Veyhl was able to respond with a box of safety glasses to help supplement their low supply. Our engineers are also currently working on designs that can keep your employees safer and potentially slow the spread of this virus.
It may not be much, but if we all do a little, it adds up to a lot. While your company or you personally might not have the means to shift your entire manufacturing line, consider different efforts you can make to help those around you and fill the gap.
Potential opportunities to help include donating blood (locations can be found here), donating food and resources to local food banks, or donating to United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.
Remember, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus and taking measures to socially distance from others. It is important to clean your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, cover coughs and sneezes, and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
OMT-Veyhl is grateful to be a part of a community that gathers in time of need, and we are actively doing our best to play a role in slowing the spread of the virus and assisting in the safety of our employees and our community.