From nearly the start of the COVID-19 shutdown, we've been hearing and reporting news about the high demand for testing and the equipment needed in testing. For the plastics industry, that has meant a push for the long, flexible injection molded shafts that are used for test swabs.
Teel Plastics Inc. and a group including Protolabs, Innovative Product Brands and even research teams at Harvard University have been involved in programs to increase production of the shafts.
So it makes sense that national attention would go to Puritan Medical Products, the sole producer of testing swabs in the United States. On June 5, President Donald Trump headed to Puritan in Guilford, Maine, to tour its swab production.
But while the workers wore full protective gear needed in clean room production settings, keeping everything covered from head to toe, the visitors did not. Trump also did not wear a mask during the tour. Photos show others in the party wearing masks, but no other clean room coverings.
After the visit, USA Today reported, all production from the visit had to be thrown out.
"The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor," Virginia Templet, the company's marketing manager, told USA Today in response to questions about the event. "Swabs produced during that time will be discarded."