DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. is partnering with General Electric to make 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days to help with the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan.
The automaker will leverage the design of Airon Corp.’s FDA-cleared ventilators. After the initial 50,000 ventilators, Ford will be able to produce 30,000 a month as needed.
The ventilator design, which is licensed by GE Healthcare from Florida-based Airon Corp., uses air pressure and does not need electricity.
Ford will initially send a team to work with Airon to boost production in Florida. By the week of April 20, production will begin at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti.
The Rawsonville plant will produce the ventilators nearly around the clock, officials said. They will be made by 500 paid volunteer employees who are UAW represented. They will work on three shifts.
Airon currently produces three Airon pNeuton Model A ventilators per day in Melbourne, Fla. At full production, Ford plans to make 7,200 Airon-licensed Model A-E ventilators per week.
Ford expects to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of April, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4.
“The Ford and GE Healthcare teams, working creatively and tirelessly, have found a way to produce this vitally needed ventilator quickly and in meaningful numbers,” said Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO. “By producing this ventilator in Michigan, in strong partnership with the UAW, we can help health care workers save lives, and that’s our No. 1 priority.”
UAW President Rory Gamble released the following statement:
“From the days of Rosie the Riveter, UAW members have stepped up during difficult times in this nation’s history for the good of us all. Today’s announcement by Ford that UAW volunteer paid employees will make respirators at Rawsonville is in that tradition. We are working very closely with Ford to make sure that all CDC guidelines are followed and that we are exercising an abundance of caution inside the plant. Ford and our UAW Ford members should be commended for stepping up in these very uncertain times.”
How COVID-19 Spreads
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
How easily the virus spreads
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.
Prevention & Treatment
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.