General Motors Co. and Ventec Life Systems made a big splash when they began making medical ventilators in part of a shuttered GM plant in Kokomo, Ind., in April.
GM left the project in late August and now Ventec has told employees in Kokomo that it will shut down the plant by the end of November.
GM and Ventec — working with a range of suppliers, including auto parts plastics molders that shifted production — delivered about 30,000 ventilators to complete a nearly $490 million contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ventilators were needed to restock medical supply lines early in the pandemic.
The pandemic, of course, continues with more than 230,000 Americans killed by COVID-19, but the pipeline for ventilators has improved. Ventec CEO Chris Kiple wrote in an email to the 800 employees in Kokomo — first obtained by the Kokomo Tribune — that the company believes it can fulfill orders from its existing site in Bothell, Wash.