Local companies turn to making personal protective gear for nurses, doctors during COVID-19 crisis

A couple of local companies are trying to do their part to bring protective gear to consumers and medical professionals. One Buena Park company pivoted from athletic clothing to masks. And a local designer went from making evening gowns to surgical gowns.

It was just last month that local designer Dalia MacPhee was at a shoot to launch her spring line. And then the coronavirus pandemic hit and she stopped making gowns and focused on 'personal protective equipment.' The N95 mask, coveralls and more needed to protect nurses and doctors when treating COVID-19 patients.               

Her new line is made in factories in China that have been certified to produce CDC, FDA approved PPE.  

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Monday, she'll deliver to a Brooklyn, New York hospital a fanny pack for health care workers to carry things like gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.               

Typically, MacPhee brands her clothes. This time, each pack will hold a personal thank you from the dress designer herself.

"I put a personal message into every health care worker, just thanking them for what they’re doing. You know, it’s the most touching them, really, to see people putting their own lives on the line and they need to be reminded. How valued they are," MacPhee said.

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At Equipe Athletics in Buena Park, the laser cutter is still working and so are all 13 of the employees.               

But instead of custom branded athletic wear, now, they're producing masks.               

The Equipe Athletic fabric masks are CDC approved when the N95 masks are unavailable.               

They are 100 percent polyester fleece, making them washable, bleachable, comfortable and can be worn multiple times.

"Our masks can help with prolonging the life of the N95 respirator, that’s what they were doing in New York. Where they would put the fabric mask over the  N95 respirator and then constantly swap out the fabric mask so they can preserve the N95 respirator," Patrick Tio of Equipe Athletics said.

Patrick said, his move to make masks had two purposes. He wanted to keep his people working and paid and he wanted to answer the call from the governor and LA's mayor to provide the much-needed masks.