Rhode Island’s health care workers are getting a big boost of personal protective equipment.
Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Merrow Sewing Machine Company in Fall River, which is owned by Rhode Islanders, delivered 3,000 gowns and is in the process of making 500,000 more.
Raimondo said the delivery was much needed, as the state’s supply of gowns was beginning to run low.
“We expect that supply will hold us in good stead for the months to come,” Raimondo said Tuesday.
Charlie Merrow, CEO of Merrow Manufacturing, said the company is doubling it’s gown production every two weeks, producing them at factories across the country, including one in Fall River.
“It is remarkable to watch how people have risen to the challenge,” Merrow told NBC 10 in an interview Tuesday.
To get the job done, Merrow said he hired an additional 40 local employees to help keep up with production at the Fall River factory. Across the country, he said nearly 800 employees will be working to make durable medical gowns that can be washed up to 100 times.
“We’re now the largest manufacturer of of U.S.-based isolation gowns in the country,” Merrow said.
The company is also supplying medical gowns for health care workers in Massachusetts.
“Charlie and Owen Merrow are heroes in my mind,” Raimondo said.
Merrow said the credit goes to employees, many of whom are working 18 hour days to produce the gowns.
“No matter how many of these we make, they go onto people,” he said. “And every one of them is a story about a person helping another person.”