Petoskey, MI – March 21, 2020
By McLaren Heath Care and Catherine Dewey
Over the past five days, Petoskey Plastics, a northern Michigan manufacturing company, has worked with McLaren Health Care to develop and approve a prototype for a hospital isolation gown. On Friday, March 20, Petoskey Plastics received design approval and will begin manufacturing 10,000 gowns per day at their Petoskey plant to supply McLaren Health Care hospitals across the state of Michigan.
“This urgent, proactive action by Petoskey Plastics will help maintain the safety of thousands of patients and staff across the state of Michigan,” said Todd Burch, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Northern Michigan. “Petoskey Plastics is setting an example for what Michigan manufacturers can do to support health care institutions during this crisis.”
Isolation gowns are used to protect health care workers’ arms and exposed body areas and prevent contamination of clothing with blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious material. The gowns are critical to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Like hospitals across the country, McLaren Northern Michigan anticipates a significant disruption in supply chain and a shortage of supplies including isolation gowns in the coming weeks.
“We are very appreciative of Todd and the McLaren team for proactively reaching out to us and discussing potential solutions for several needs in short supply,” stated Jason Keiswetter, Petoskey Plastics President. “Once we identified the apron as a potential fit, we immediately came together as a company. I’m very proud of our engineers, plant associates, and sales team for quickly identifying a workable solution. In less than 5 days, we’ve gone through conceptual designs, samples, re-tooling of equipment, and now we are ramping up for production to support our medical friends in need.”
Petoskey Plastics currently produces blood and viral barrier protective films (ASTM F1671), Autoclave and Biohazard bags for large national accounts and distributors.They are modifying their current equipment normally used to produce protective automotive seat covers to be able to produce these isolation gowns using similar materials and technology.
“We are grateful to Petoskey Plastics for this partnership that started in northern Michigan and will serve patients across the state. We anticipate that this production of isolation gowns will meet our future needs before our supply is depleted,” said Burch.
In addition, McLaren Northern Michigan is in communication with several other local manufacturers and has products in development that may serve as alternatives to normal supplies. Each of these alternative products are being vetted by the McLaren Health Care infection control team to ensure they will adequately protect staff as they are caring for the community.
“We look forward to sharing these collaborations with the community in the coming days and are grateful for the support of Petoskey Plastics and our local manufacturers during these extraordinary times,” said Burch. “This is a time for all of us to share our collective wisdom and innovative solutions to help our patients and staff.”
McLaren Northern Michigan urges the community to take proactive steps to protect your family, wash your hands, avoid highly touched areas, and practice social distancing by staying home unless it is absolutely critical. The community’s actions now will determine how severely COVID-19 impacts the northern Michigan community.
About Petoskey Plastics Petoskey Plastics is an environmentally focused recycler and plastic film, bag, and resin manufacturer. Headquartered in Petoskey, Michigan, the company provides products and engineered solutions for a variety of industries including automotive, industrial, institutional, medical, retail, construction, and home improvement. Petoskey Plastics has facilities in Michigan, Indiana, and Tennessee. Learn more at www.petoskeyplastics.com.
About McLaren Northern Michigan McLaren Northern Michigan, a subsidiary of McLaren Health Care, is a 202-bed, regional referral center located in Petoskey, serving residents in 22 counties across northern lower Michigan and the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula. Over 230 physicians representing nearly all medical and surgical specialties, enabling full-service care with an emphasis on heart, cancer, orthopedics, and neuroscience services. For additional information, visit mclaren.org/northern