The government has enlisted five local companies to produce up to 7000 clear plastic face shields per day as an additional line of defence for healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.

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 COVID-19 pandemic has always been a crisis on two fronts, health and economic, and my Government is committed to shielding South Australians from both,” Premier Marshall said.

“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.

“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 just 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,” Minister Wade 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.”

The five local 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 manufacturing by four suppliers has already started, with the remaining to begin supplying products very shortly.

“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.”

South Australia’s PPE stocks received a further boost recently, with Detmold receiving delivery of its third, fourth and fifth mask manufacturing machine at its Brompton factory.

The iconic South Australian packaging company has been contracted to produce millions of respirator and surgical masks for the South Australian and Federal Governments.

The newly arrived machine is their first for production of Level 3 surgical face masks and is expected to begin producing masks shortly, following set up and testing.

Originally published on the Premier of South Australia’s website: New Local Jobs Powering South Australia’s Health Response