Ormond Beach, FL - A local company in Ormond Beach, Fit USA, normally manufactures athletic apparel. They are now making face masks in response to the shortage available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood picked up 600 masks for first responders and hospitals yesterday.
Chitwood posted on his Facebook page: "These guys and every single person who is a part of this effort at FitUSA are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when we pull together as Americans. Just look around at all the different ways people are pitching in. I can't thank ALL of you enough and I am so proud to see this happening right here in our community."
Troy Olson, company owner, says the staff is very passionate about this project. They are using the same type of fabric used for the jerseys. Halifax Hospital said the mask had to pass the same draw fit test used for N95 masks. The mask was tested in the hospital and Fit USA was given the go-ahead.
Peter Pottieger, company CEO, says the good thing about the masks they've made is that they can be washed and reused. He says that the material used for athletic clothing is normally put through the wash 30 to 50 times. Pottieger says the masks won't last that long but they should make it through a few washes.
Chitwood said that the masks are so important to keeping deputies and first responders safe. "This is remarkable ingenuity at it's best. They've retooled the factory to make masks instead of athletic jerseys." He joked that they could be making Tampa Bay Bucaneer Tom Brady jerseys but what they are doing is helping our country in a crisis. "These guys and every single person who is a part of this effort at FitUSA are perfect examples of what we can accomplish when we pull together as Americans."
Olson said the N95 masks are made for single use even though health professionals are reusing them due to the shortage. "You can use this, wash it and keep using it for maybe 30 days."