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Gwinnett medical company hires 50 after switching to mask production

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.(2019-nCoV)
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.(2019-nCoV)

A Lawrenceville medical supply company has switched to making masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has been able to add 50 new workers to its staff.

U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, visited the Marena Group’s Lawrenceville facility on Wednesday, the day after its switch to maskmaking was announced. After the pandemic first caused a slowdown at the company, a switch to mask production allowed the company to add to its staff, Collins said.


The Marena Group usually produces compression garments used after surgeries. Since most elective surgeries have been put on hold to make more medical resources available to coronavirus patients, demand has plummeted for the Marena Group’s products. But once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending people wear masks in public, the Marena Group has switched its production line to masks.

“Being an FDA approved medical device manufacturer, our company, production lines and employees are uniquely qualified to respond to the current epidemic and shortage of face masks,” said Dale Clendon, president and CEO of The Marena Group, in a company statement. “We felt the obligation to answer the call to produce these new reusable antibacterial non-surgical PPE masks. They meet the criteria of the FDA guidance as a Class I medical device to be used by the general public and by health care professionals in a healthcare setting,”

The non-surgical masks are washable — they remain effective through 50 trips to the washing machine —and can be worn alone or over an N95 mask. The company is now making 80,000 masks a week, and they’re available for both medical personnel and the general public.

“What I saw was a Georgia company making the best of a situation that they never anticipated,” Collins said a day after his tour of the factory. “It’s a great example of how Georgians are keeping Georgians employed.”

The masks can be purchased at the company's website, marena.com.

Gwinnett County Transit workers decided not to walk off the job this morning after the company that operates the service took additional steps to protect their safety.