Medline plans to manufacture face masks in North America for the first time, modifying its Lithia Springs, GA, plant to begin producing level-1 ear loop procedure masks in January.

When the company adds a second production line later in 2021, it estimates producing 36 million face masks per month.

“Throughout the pandemic, Medline has been laser-focused on implementing new ideas to combat the national shortage of medical supplies,” said CEO Charlie Mills. “In particular, our customers have a critical need for readily available face masks. This is a significant capital investment in one of our largest manufacturing facilities that will increase the number of face masks Medline can offer to healthcare facilities and diversifies our PPE supply chain.”  

Medline said that more than 30 healthcare providers including skilled nursing facilities and hospital systems have already agreed to purchase the Medline masks. 

In April, Medline launched hand sanitizer production at its Hartland, WI, plant, redeploying manufacturing capabilities to produce an 80% ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The company also shifted manufacturing focus in its Meriden, CT, plant to manufacture alcohol gel packets.

Medline has 20-plus manufacturing facilities currently producing lotions, infection prevention products, patient plastics, textiles, raw materials and incontinence products.

The expansion in Georgia is backed by a $6 million U.S. Department of Defense contract meant to increase domestic production capability for face masks.