Honeywell in Smithfield to ramp up face mask production

Rhode Island State House. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island factory is ramping up production of specialized face masks in response to the federal fight against the new coronavirus.

Honeywell announced Sunday it plans to hire 500 people at its Smithfield plant to produce millions of N95 disposable respirators to help support the need for critical safety equipment.

The face masks will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are a critical piece of personal protective equipment for health care, safety and emergency response workers.

“We are honored to support the U.S. government’s efforts to protect Americans with personal protective equipment made right here in the United States,” said Darius Adamczyk, North Carolina-based Honeywell’s chairman and chief executive officer.

The Smithfield factory produces eye protection products, including safety glasses, safety goggles and protective face shields.

Rhode Island had 83 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of Sunday.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death. The vast majority of people recover.

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