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Under Armour making protective gear for Maryland hospital workers during coronavirus pandemic

Under Armour is making and distributing masks and hospital gowns for health care workers at the University of Maryland Medical System and several other medical facilities in the state.

The Baltimore-based sports apparel maker said it is manufacturing medical gear as part of a larger effort to support the state’s medical community during the new coronavirus pandemic.

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Under Armour plans to make more than 500,000 masks, assemble and distribute 1,000 face shields and make thousands of hospital gowns in Baltimore.

On Tuesday, the brand also announced that it will provide face masks to Baltimore-based LifeBridge, which runs Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Carroll Hospital and other facilities. Under Armour also said it is in discussions with Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar and other institutions about their needs for supplies.

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Medical professionals in the state have found themselves trying to extend the life of masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment as demand exceeds supply as COVID-19 cases have spiked. They have asked for donations from the public as hospitals have had trouble replenishing supplies.

Randy Harward, Under Armour’s senior vice president of advanced material and manufacturing innovation, will lead the brand’s medical gear effort. Harward typically works in Under Armour’s The Lighthouse in Port Covington, where the brand develops products and does small-batch manufacturing.

“When the call came in from our local medical providers for more masks, gowns and supply kits, we just went straight to work,” Harward said in an announcement.

He said more than 50 Under Armour employees, including materials scientists and footwear and apparel designers, are working on the project based at The Lighthouse.

The team focused on designing a protective mask that could be produced quickly and in high numbers and could provide an additional barrier against the virus to shield health care workers. They are making one-piece masks that do not require sewing.

Mask cutouts will then be passed off to a group of Under Armour volunteers and hospitals for folding and distribution. Harward predicts the team could generate as many as 100,000 masks a week.

The brand also said employees at the Locust Point headquarters have volunteered to stuff more than 50,000 fanny packs with supplies for medical professionals.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jean Marbella contributed to this article.

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