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Pa. establishes helpline for companies that can produce critical medical supplies needed for COVID-19 response

Bottles of hand sanitizer made at the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery sit in a display box at the distillery in New Tripoli, Pa., Monday, March 16, 2020. (Matt Rourke / AP Photo)

Bottles of hand sanitizer made at the Eight Oaks Farm Distillery sit in a display box at the distillery in New Tripoli, Pa., Monday, March 16, 2020. (Matt Rourke / AP Photo)

This article originally appeared on PA Post.

The state Department of Community and Economic Development on Saturday announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal to help manufacturers mobilize to produce or pivot to produce supplies and products needed to respond to the coronavirus.

“As we work to protect public health and safety and create a robust supply chain, we know that there are manufacturers across the commonwealth who are willing and able to help,” said Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “This portal will help facilitate the connections businesses need to get critical COVID-19-related products to market or retrofit their operations to begin production of those products.”

This portal builds on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Critical Medical Supplies Portal created last week to locate the most needed supplies for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals. The manufacturers’ portal is intended to help manufacturers produce COVID-19-related supplies or retool their operations to begin creation of those supplies.

David Taylor, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, welcomed the creation of the portal but said the problem remains that companies that provide supplies to manufacturers are shutdown under Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders because they are not considered life-sustaining businesses.

“This is part of the friction,” Taylor said.

Model wearing a protective mask and gown for medical professionals made from the fabric of a baseball uniform. (Fanatics/AP Photo)

What Taylor wants to see is all manufacturers in the state identified as life-sustaining and able to operate. Also needed is a blanket waiver for suppliers, distributors and vendors that supply those manufacturers, he said. Or as an alternative, the governor could renounce his list and adopt the U.S. Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s list to determine what is considered a life-sustaining business.

“We want to work with the administration and help them when they are doing good things even as we will continue to criticize those decisions that the administration has made and is making that we think are wrong,” Taylor said. “This is a time for all of us to pitch in and do our best with the pandemic.”

The portal was developed through a joint effort between DCED, the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association, the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, IRC Network, Life Sciences PA, Pennsylvania Life Sciences Greenhouses, and the PA Chamber of Business and Industry.

PennLive and The Patriot-News are partners with PA Post.

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