March 27 (UPI) -- Toyota announced Friday it is prepared to begin manufacturing face shields next week for healthcare workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will make the 3-D-printed face shields at its Huntsville, Ala., plant, idled by the pandemic, and seeks a partner to make filters to make standard face masks. In a statement on Friday it added that it is finalizing agreements with at least two undisclosed companies to produce critically needed ventilators and respirators.
Toyota joins General Motors, Ford and Tesla in preparing partnerships for ventilator production.
"With our plants idled and our dealers focused on servicing customers, we are eager to contribute our expertise and know-how in order to help quickly bring to market the medical supplies and equipment needed to combat the COVID crisis," said Ted Ogawa, incoming CEO of Toyota Motor North America Inc. "Our message to the medical equipment community is: we are here to help, please utilize our expertise."
The first face shields will be sent to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and hospitals in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.