Nation & World

3M boosts production of face masks

Manufacturer won't confirm it ran out of supply

3M says its employees are working overtime to make the protective face masks that now are in high demand after the sprea
3M says its employees are working overtime to make the protective face masks that now are in high demand after the spread of a strain of coronavirus. (Zuma Press/TNS)

3M has dramatically boosted production of its face masks in at least two of its Chinese factories after Chinese news agencies reported that the plants ran out of stock in response to the sudden rise of a deadly Coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

3M officials would not confirm the company ran out of stock.

The Minnesota-based giant, however, said its factory employees now are working overtime making the protective face masks that now are in high demand after the spread of a strain of coronavirus.

So far, the virus has killed at least 26 people in China and infected more than 900 worldwide, according to the Associated Press.

The United States has confirmed at least two cases, with both patients having returned from China with the virus. One is in Washington state, and one in Chicago. There are two suspected cases in Minnesota.

China now has banned travel from 12 of its cities, including Wuhan, which has 11 million residents.

Travelers worldwide armed themselves with respiratory face masks to shield themselves from the new virus. Chinese news agencies are reporting that it’s hard to keep masks on the shelves.

3M, which manufactures respiratory protection products at numerous locations around the world, is trying to meet customers’ needs, 3M spokeswoman Jennifer Ehrlich said in an email.

“We are working to continue respirator production during the Chinese New Year holiday,” she said.

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