NEWPORT NEWS-ivWatch, LLC, a medical device manufacturing company located on Tech Center Parkway in Newport News, is one of a handful of businesses in the United States who have been approved to create surgical N95 Masks to help prevent the spread of illnesses including covid-19.
The company began production of medical grade surgical N95 respirators in November 2021. The masks are approved by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) through the CDC and are designed for long-term wear comfort.
“They are a one hundred percent U.S. made product, which is important for a lot of people,” said Gary Warren, president and CEO of ivWatch.
Although the masks are designed for those who work in health care settings, including hospitals, doctor and dental offices, and veterinary offices, anyone can purchase the masks. Warren said they have become especially popular with universities among professors who need to wear them long-term throughout lectures.
ivWatch’s equipment has the capability to produce 20 million masks a year, though the amount that will be made will be based on demand.
“These masks are going to be a permanent addition to our product line,” Warren said. “There is high demand because of the wave [of covid-19] that we are going through in this country right now.”
ivWatch’s N95 masks are available in local pharmacies on the Peninsula as well as in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. The masks can also be purchased online through the company’s website.
Meanwhile, another Newport News company, Goldbelt Security, LLC (GBS) was recently awarded a major contract in the fight against covid. The Department of Defense (DoD), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded a $51.6 million contract to Goldbelt Security for delivery of over-the-counter covid-19 test kits. This effort supports President Joe Biden’s plan to deliver 500 million at-home covid-19 tests to the nation at no cost, in response to the omicron variant.
“Despite the description on our web site, GBS is a products company,” said Philip Clayton, president of Goldbelt Security. “We sell everything from fire trucks to pocket watches, but our primary business is medical supplies. In 2021, GBS provided 541,000,000 needles and syringes to the Federal Government to support the covid vaccination effort.”
Barrett Baker also contributed to this article.