CORBIN — One local factory is set to manufacture over 200,000 medical masks to help combat the spread of COVID-19.
SEKRI produces over a million military caps a year, first aid kits and fire retardant garments, just to name a few. Along with these items, the facility will start producing other life saving items — masks.
SEKRI Purchasing Manager Stan Baker for SEKRI said the company is set to begin making masks for the Commonwealth by the end of the week.
SEKRI Assistant Executive Director Leo Miller, who worked in state government prior to joining SEKRI, was contacted by the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management about making the masks.
Baker said they first asked for the N95 masks, however that process was more than the company could offer, so the two came to an agreement on a surgical type mask.
Prototypes were sent to Frankfort and were approved. SEKRI has received an order for more than 200,000 masks.
Baker said the masks will be made for the cost of labor.
“That’s it,” he added. “We’re not getting any material cost. We feel like this is something we can do.”
This is a production that Baker and his employees are excited about being a part of.
“When you consider going from nothing, to in two weeks you’re making over 200,000 — that’s a pretty big deal,” said Baker. “It’s incredible what these guys have done.”
The material will come from fabric originally intended for Air Force patrol cap. Baker said the additional suppliers they are working with have been great.
The initial production will start at the Corbin Bypass location however other locations may be added.
“Our folks are like everyone else we’re banning together and doing what we need to,” added Baker.
The facility set up at SEKRI is set up in a way that complies with social distancing, however, Baker said they have modified certain policies such as break for example. Individuals are having to split up break times to ensure theres no mass gathering.
“We have a job to do for our soldier community and now we have a job to do for our medical community in the Commonwealth and we’re going to do it,” said Baker.