RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association announced Monday it is working with a Richmond based company to produce disposable, medical-grade face masks for hospitals and health care providers in the commonwealth.
“Having high-quality medical-grade masks produced right here in Richmond, Virginia will benefit health care providers throughout the Commonwealth by shoring up supply chain vulnerabilities exposed during COVID-19,” said David Jenkins, VHHA Shared Services CEO.
The VHHA is working with Olivian, a woman and minority owned company, to produce the masks
In its announcement, the VHHA said this partnership creates a direct pipeline of medical-grade face masks to providers who have had difficulties acquiring PPE. They said this partnership will help medical professionals get the supplies they need without price gouging and intense bidding wars.
“Access to the supplies and equipment needed to respond to COVID-19, from PPE to testing kits and remdesivir, has been an ongoing challenge for Virginia hospitals and other health care providers since the pandemic arrived in March,” said Sean T. Connaughton, VHHA President and CEO. “The Association has actively pursued multiple strategies to acquire PPE and establish new supply lines. This exciting new partnership with Olivian is a critical step forward in that work.”
Wendy Scelia, founder of Olivian, said she was inspired to start the company because of her family. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, her brother and his wife worked in a nursing unit in Connecticut that was running low on disposable face masks.
Initially she leveraged her professional connections to source face masks from international suppliers, but the ongoing pandemic and supply chain complications lead to her recognizing the need for a reliable domestic production of face masks.
“What began as a response to family situation has rapidly involved into a homegrown business providing local jobs while contributing to the response to a global health crisis,” Scelia said. “We are proud to partner with VHHA to provide medical masks to frontline health care heroes who are battling COVID-19 while also supporting the economy by growing the manufacturing base.”
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