Updated: March 26, 2020 06:08 PM
Created: March 26, 2020 05:03 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Production has begun at Hickey Freeman on North Clinton Avenue to make surgical masks to help guard against the coronavirus.
The fine suit maker was recruited by Rochester General Hospital to help deal with a mask shortage.
With fabric in short supply, RGH sent over surgical drapes, which Hickey Freeman workers are cutting into masks.
The factory had temporarily closed, but a crew of about 15 employees were brought back and are now producing about 2,500 masks per day.
Their Executive Vice President, John Martynek, says they were able to quickly adapt from making suits.
"The process is similar, but we have people that are highly skilled, great level of dexterity, so it took them less than two hours to kind of adapt to what needs to be done,” Martynek said. “Now we're producing quite a few masks."
Hickey Freeman is actively looking for sources of medical-grade materials so it can expand the sewing operation.
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