General Motors is bringing on 1,000 workers in Indiana as it ramps up production of Ventec Life Systems’ ventilators in an effort to ultimately crank out 10,000 ventilators per month.
“Next week we start production,” GM Corporate Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Hess told Cheddar.
Production will take place at the company’s Kokomo facility, which was shuttered in mid-March as result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the workers arriving to build ventilators worked for GM, but were furloughed when the plant closed.
As the site re-opens to build medical equipment, the company will be taking steps to attempt to keep the virus out, inhibit the spread among employees by creating a socially-distant workplace environment, and by taking care of workers who may end up contracting COVID-19, he said.
Since announcing their partnership with Ventec two weeks ago, Hess said GM has put out the first test models of Ventec’s ventilator, which GM will produce at its own facility. The partnership between the companies was, at first, voluntary, until President Donald Trump issued an order through the Defense Production Act to force production at the end of March.