ABERDEEN, S.D. — 3M is shipping 500,000 respirators manufactured at a South Dakota location in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation, according to 3M’s chief executive office Mike Roman.

Roman made the statements in a news release on Sunday, March 23.

“Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve ramped up to maximum production levels of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month,” Roman said in the news release.

“In the United States we are producing 35 million respirators per month; of these, more than 90% are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies. As a global company, we also manufacture respirators in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and our products are being similarly deployed to support the COVID-19 response in those respective regions.”

Roman said that as he wrote the release, more than 500,000 respirators were on the way from their plant in Aberdeen to New York and Seattle.

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“We are also ready to expedite additional shipments across the country,” Roman said.

Roman said that the ability to manufacture and ship out respirators to healthcare workers in need was the result of the federal government’s efforts to expand the U.S. Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act.

“This helps ensure that all N95 disposable respirators can be used in healthcare settings, and has enabled us to increase distribution to those workers beginning this weekend,” Roman said. “We call for additional legislation to ensure all critically needed reusable respirators are equally available, which will help conserve the supply of N95s.”

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