We’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether Coronavirus has you working from home or struggling to protect yourself while continuing to work as an essential employee, we all have been impacted in some way. In particular, health care workers have found themselves at the forefront of the fight against the Coronavirus.

This comes as no surprise, but what may come as a surprise is the struggle that many health care workers are facing when it comes to finding personal protective equipment (PPE). Due to a shortage of face masks and face shields, some health care workers are even being forced to sew their own face masks in an attempt to keep themselves safe.

Shortage of PPE Leads to Creative Solutions

Because of this, many corporations from outside industries have stepped in to help. Some are donating face masks and ventilators. Others are shifting production from alcohol or perfume to hand sanitizer, from car parts to ventilators, and from clothing to face masks to help meet the ever-growing need for these items worldwide.

Businesses that have been temporarily closed - salons, dentist offices, construction companies, etc. - are also being called upon to donate any masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection, thermometers, sanitizer, disinfectants, and more in an effort to meet the current need.

ExxonMobil Looks for Ways to Help

Along with the obvious need for gasoline and diesel to keep our supply chain running, various divisions of ExxonMobil are also critical in the production of isopropyl alcohol (used in hand sanitizer and other disinfectant products) and polypropylene (used in masks, gowns, and N95 respirators).

That’s why ExxonMobil is diligently working to maintain the health and safety of its employees while continuing to operate in order to meet these essential needs. In addition to maintaining operations, Exxon Mobil is also looking for ways that they can use their industry knowledge and areas of expertise together with others to find new ways to combat the PPE shortage facing our country.

According to Matthew V. Veazey of Rigzone, ExxonMobil “reported Thursday [April 2, 2020] it has launched multiple projects with the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protective equipment for health care workers”.

The article goes on to describe that one such effort involves the design of a new industrial-style face mask that could potentially improve protection for health care workers by better covering a worker’s nose and mouth. The new design would also use a replaceable filtration cartridge in the hope of extending the life of these critical pieces of equipment.

Veazey writes that, “production [of these new industrial style face masks] will start immediately after FDA grants approval, with manufacturers set to produce up to 40,000 ready-to-use masks and filter cartridges per hour for doctors, nurses and other health care providers.”

Hope for the Future

With so many companies and individuals stepping up to help, we know that we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic and come out better because of it. Collaborations like that of ExxonMobil with the Global Center for Medical Innovation are proof that anything is possible if we work hard and work together.

To learn more about how ExxonMobil is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the new ExxonMobil and COVID-19 webpage.