Updated: March 19, 2020 07:20 PM
Created: March 19, 2020 06:14 PM
Vice President Mike Pence praised Twin Cities-based 3M and another company that used to be based in Minnesota for boosting their production of protective masks for health care workers across the country.
"We're encouraged to see companies like Honeywell and 3M I visited a few short weeks ago take advantage in changes in the law last night that allow the sale of industrial masks directly to hospitals," Pence said at his daily briefing on the coronavirus Thursday. "Those companies have now greatly increased by the tens of millions their production of so-called N95 masks that will give our health care workers the protection that they need to minister to those that are dealing with the symptoms or disease of coronavirus."
The vice president said regulations were changed to allow the companies to sell directly to hospitals in greater numbers than previously allowed without as much fear of lawsuits.
"We've extended the liability protection so now that all the industrial masks that are manufactured as N95s are now available to hospitals and we're seeing a dramatic increase in production," Pence said. "Honeywell alone is re-purposing a factory that was destined for Mexico to produce another 120 million masks per year. 3M is increasing output to 420 million masks per year. We really put a priority at the president's direction on making sure those that are providing health care services to America have the protection to keep themselves and their families safe."
President Donald Trump and Pence later held a conference call with all the nation's governors to update them on the mask production and other aspects of the fight against COVID-19.
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