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LI firms win $1.1 million from NYS to make face shields, surgical masks

Face shields are being assembled at Farmingdale's D'Addario

Face shields are being assembled at Farmingdale's D'Addario & Co., which will double production of face shields to 1.2 million with a $341,000 grant. Credit: Johnny Milano

Two local manufacturers will share $1.1 million in grants to make personal protective equipment to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Friday.

Islandaire will use a $800,000 grant to go from producing air conditioners to 2 million surgical masks in the next six months. The St. James company expects the $3.9 million project will add 10 people to its workforce, officials said.

D’Addario & Co. will double production of face shields to 1.2 million with a $341,000 grant. The East Farmingdale manufacturer has switched some of its production from guitar strings, drum heads and other musical instrument accessories to face shields.

Speaking Friday at D’Addario, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Hochul said, "When we were scouring the earth in search of personal protective equipment, New York State’s manufacturers answered the call to support our COVID-19 frontline heroes." These companies serve as "a model for how we build back better for the post-pandemic future," she said.

Hochul toured D’Addario’s face shield department with CEO John D’Addario III, chief innovation officer and chairman Jim D’Addario, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. The company has more than 850 employees.

When the pandemic forced nonessential businesses to shut down in March, D’Addario began producing face shields for sale to hospitals. The company’s Dynatomy shields are approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

"It’s our intention to manufacture these shields as long as they’re needed in New York or anywhere around the globe," Jim D’Addario said. "We feel an immense responsibility to do our part in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis."

Cuomo established the grant program for PPE producers in March. Other local recipients include test-sample kit maker Empire Bio Diagnostics Corp. in Mineola, face shield producer Clear-Vu Medical in Central Islip and test maker Chembio Diagnostics Inc. in Hauppauge.

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