The South Australia government has enlisted five local companies to produce up to 7000 clear plastic face shields a day for healthcare workers against COVID-19.
The suppliers are Fusetec 3D, Neds Head, Form Cut, Cheiron Healthcare (working with the Royal Society of the Blind), and Motherson Medical.
SA Health executive director Andrea Andrews said production had started at four of the businesses.
“SA Health has placed short run orders with each of these suppliers to ensure we can stock the face shields required to meet the immediate demand in our COVID-19 hospitals,” she said.
“We are delighted that local companies have collaborated with us to dramatically increase our supply of face shields in a very short time.
“Going forward, all of these suppliers will be included on the SA Health Apparel Panel so we have the ongoing ability to purchase supplies for the SA Health network from them, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Premier Steven Marshall said the production boost has created more than 55 local jobs, including 35 at Fusetech, which are stimulating the state’s economy as it navigates through challenging headwinds.
“The production of face shields and other PPE locally is fast-tracking the state’s road to economic recovery by securing local jobs but also ensuring we have a reliable source of healthcare protection if required,” he said.
“The innovative and agile nature of South Australian business, complemented by a sustainable plan to keep the state moving forward will see South Australia come through this unprecedented crisis in a stronger position than before.”
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the demand for face shields had increased 50-fold since the global coronavirus pandemic reached South Australia four months ago.
“Used in conjunction with other Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves, face shields provide potentially life-saving protection for the doctors and nurses who provide primary care to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients,” he said.
“Manufactured to be both sturdy and comfortable to wear, this extra layer of defence from potentially infective droplets or fluids will give added confidence to healthcare staff as they go about their vital work.
“Despite our early success in stopping the spread of COVID-19, South Australia is not taking anything for granted – we are acting now to ensure we have all the PPE supplies required to protect our frontline healthcare workers in the event of any increase of COVID-19 in our state.”