A Ball Ground-based manufacturer of oxygen therapy equipment has ramped up production at plants here and in New York to help meet increased demand created by the novel coronavirus pandemic, company officials said.
“We are working six days a week and adding hours on Sunday with a heightened level of focus and intensity in order to support the critical need for oxygen therapy in people who have contracted the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and we are looking at ways we can expand this effort further to meet this demand,” said Earl Lawson, President and CEO of Ball Ground-based CAIRE Inc.
More than 300 employees locally and 50 based in upstate New York are working long hours in order to meet what company officials termed “the exponential rise in demand for oxygen medical equipment from global aid organizations, medical institutions, home care and durable medical equipment providers,” in the U.S. and around the world.
CAIRE’s products are used for administering concentrated oxygen therapy, delivered through a nasal cannula to an infected person, company officials said. The treatment “is one of the key supportive medical treatments identified by the World Health Organization to bring comfort and healing to individuals whose respiratory systems have been severely impacted by the virus,” CAIRE official said in a statement late last week.
CAIRE has seen a dramatic increase in demand for stationary oxygen concentrators and commercial generators from its customers globally, and those who are providing emergency aid in pandemic hot zones, company officials said.
“Yesterday, I shared with the production team that each day they should know the gravity of the purpose of their work. What we do matters. I wish I could put the picture of every hospital, temporary treatment center, and patient on the box as we send out this life-saving equipment so they could see the impact our work will make in the coming days and weeks,” Lawson said.
Non-production CAIRE employees in Georgia and New York began working remotely on March 16, while employees in the plant continued production, but with new safeguards to protect them from potential exposure to the virus.
Another 300 employees based in CAIRE’s other locations including Japan, China, Italy, Britain, Germany continue to work under similar safety measures as the virus has spread, company officials said. Those steps “mirror efforts that CAIRE put into place during the initial outbreak near CAIRE’s Chengdu, China, manufacturing site. Swift action and safety measures allowed this team to begin production again in early February after following early safety and quarantine recommendations by the Chinese government,” company officials said in a statement.
“We learned valuable lessons in our China facility, that we have applied here and around the globe to ensure continuity of supply of this critical equipment,” Lawson said.