N. Texas surgical mask company scrambles to meet demand amid flu concerns
"...That includes making emergency orders for more surgical masks to protect health care workers. At this point, hospitals are not reporting a shortage in masks.
Masks provide a critical defense. A cough from a flu-infected person can spread the virus up to six feet away. But United States care centers now get 80 to 90 percent of surgical masks from plants in China or Mexico.
One of the lone exceptions is Prestige Ameritech in North Richland Hills, which has grown to be the largest mask maker in the U.S. since it was founded in 2005.
"We are shipping millions of masks weekly now, which is probably triple our normal volume," says company co-founder Dan Reese.
Hospitals must have them. Cook's says it's using 40 percent more masks than usual. It recently placed an emergency order.
...Reese says hospitals are calling from across the country. About 65 employees work overtime to meet demand. His biggest worry –– if demand remains constant, what would happen in the case of a true pandemic?
"It demonstrates just how fragile the American mask supply is," Reese says.
His company has about five million masks in its warehouse. He says there is no shortage and will be no shortage for his customers... "