Medline to begin manufacturing face masks in North America — 6 details

With a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, Medline will begin manufacturing face masks at its Lithia Springs, Ga., plant in January, according to a Nov. 18 announcement.

What you should know:

1. Medline aims to meet customers' "critical need" for readily available face masks by launching production of these supplies for the first time in North America, CEO Charlie Mills said in a prepared statement.

2. With production on level-1 ear loop procedure masks slated to begin in January and a second production line launching later in 2021, Medline estimates it will produce 36 million face masks per month when both lines are fully operational.

3. After expanding into face mask production, Medline's Lithia Springs plant will continue producing incontinence products, including adult briefs, baby diapers, underpads and other products used in personal care. The plant has 420 employees and will add 40 more to work on the new face mask lines.

4. More than 30 healthcare providers have expressed interest in purchasing Medline's American-made face masks, with big names including Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health, University of Washington Medicine in Seattle, Evanston, Ill.-based NorthShore University HealthSystem and CVS Pharmacy.

5. This is Medline's second manufacturing expansion in the U.S. this year. Amid shortages, the company launched hand sanitizer production at its Hartland, Wis., plant and shifted the manufacturing focus in its Meriden, Conn., plant to alcohol gel packets.

6. Medline operates 20-plus North American manufacturing facilities producing lotions, infection prevention products, patient plastics, textiles, raw materials and incontinence products.

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