Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of ventilators, which are needed for COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory symptoms. In a joint press release, General Motors and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation’s coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, announced today they are collaborating. General Motors will repurpose its Kokomo, Indiana, automotive parts plant to produce ventilators. GM told CNBC that 1,000 UAW auto workers, who have volunteered for the new assignment, will work to build the ventilators. Production is expected to start in 7 to 14 days once the plant has been refitted and the workers trained.
Ventec Life Systems is a Washington state company created by medical professionals to build a variety of ventilators for different purposes.
A mechanical ventilator is a machine that helps a patient breathe (ventilate) when he or she cannot breathe on his or her own for any reason. In severe COVID-19 cases, patients often have difficulty breathing.
Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor, said in the Thursday media COVID-19 briefing from the Governor’s office, that the state’s hospitals and acute care facilities have 560 ventilators, which could be used for patients who contract COVID-19 and have severe respiratory symptoms. Green said that as of Wednesday, 78 of the ventilators were in use. Green said the State is coordinating with FEMA to order additional ventilators as needed if the need exceeds the state’s capacity.