Mayor Faulconer Calls on Manufacturing Industry to Pivot Production to COVID-19 Efforts
San Diego – In a move to boost San Diego’s stock of critical supplies and equipment, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today called on San Diego manufacturers and businesses to shift their operations to support the region’s response to COVID-19. The Mayor was joined by Biocom President and CEO Joe Panetta, San Diego Workforce Partnership President and CEO Peter Callstrom, and San Diego Distillers Guild President Geoff Longenecker to highlight companies pivoting production to provide essential items during the global pandemic.
“I’m calling on our manufacturing industry to pivot their production to support the battle against COVID-19. San Diego has the knowhow to make products that can save lives, so it’s time to literally use every tool in our toolbox to fight this aggressive virus,” said Mayor Faulconer. “We have the capability right here in San Diego to make a meaningful difference. All businesses that have capacity and capability to shift their operations toward making essentials like ventilators, face masks and hand-sanitizer are being urged to do so.”
The Mayor’s call to action came as the President issued a new Defense Production Act order that requires several medical equipment companies across the nation to produce ventilators, including San Diego-based ResMed. As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, critical equipment — from protective gear for health-care professionals and other essential workers to testing kits and ventilators for patients — is in limited supply. The supply chain disruption is already motivating manufacturers across a number of industries to adapt to meet demand.
“Watching San Diego companies respond over the past two weeks reminds me why I'm proud to call this region home,” said Mark Cafferty, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “From Cubic to LunaDNA to distilleries like Cutwater Spirits, companies are stepping up and doubling down to ensure that our healthcare workers are protected and that we're one step closer to finding a cure. If other San Diego companies are looking to pivot operations, EDC is here to help."
San Diego’s manufacturing cluster spans across many industries, including the defense, aerospace, shipbuilding and repair, medical devices, craft brewing, and active lifestyle. With a highly-skilled workforce and close proximity to Mexico, San Diego is a hub for advanced manufacturing with nearly 3,150 companies and more than 110,000 jobs. Some of these companies have shifted their focus and resources to address critical needs:
- ResMed – Best known for creating medical technology to address sleep apnea and other respiratory illnesses, ResMed is ramping up its production of respirators and ventilators for hospital and at-home use. It is re-focusing some of its production capacity away from sleep apnea devices to ventilators, and working to double to triple the number of ventilators the company produces.
- Orucase – Travel bag and accessories manufacturer Orucase has adapted its production to create up to 500,000 face masks daily, and is securing materials to make medical-grade masks for healthcare workers.
- Cubic – San Diego-based Cubic is leveraging technology to create a prototype ventilator and is partnering with the University of Alabama’s nursing program to test and refine its product.
- Flexsystems – El Cajon-based manufacturer Flexsystems has changed its operations to focus on manufacturing fabric masks and splash guards.
San Diego’s life sciences community is reprioritizing its work to provide critically medical equipment in short supply. Biocom, the association that represents California’s life science industry, is acting as facilitator for the medical community by identifying needs of healthcare organizations with the goal of connecting them with manufacturers. Biocom is working with life science manufacturers including Eli Lilly, Arcturus Therapeutics, Thermo Fisher and UCSD, among others.
"California, and especially the San Diego biotechnology community, is leading the worldwide fight against COVID-19,” said Joe Panetta, President and CEO of Biocom. “The coronavirus has ignited the research, medical device, and biotechnology community in ways that no pandemic or medical mystery has before. The community has also stepped up with donations of personal protective equipment and supplies for our frontline healthcare workers. We are in this together, and there is a collective spirit of determination to change the course of this global pandemic.”
Local distilleries are also stepping up to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Seven Caves, a distillery located in Miramar, is producing hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer. Owner Geoff Longenecker, who is also the president of the San Diego Distillers Guild, plans to give away his stock of sanitizer for free or with a donation to the United States Bartenders Guild. Many local distillers, including Cutwater Spirits and Misadventure Vodka, are making sanitizer to sell or give away to San Diegans at no cost.
“Almost every distillery in San Diego has converted its entire operation towards the production of hand sanitizers,” said Geoff Longenecker, San Diego Distillery Guild President. “Most of our distillers are making quantities to sell to cover costs, and we’re also giving away large amounts to San Diegans at no cost.”
A statewide “Stay-at-Home” order is in effect until April 30. For more information on the order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit COVID19.ca.gov.
For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.
For the latest City operational updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.