MANCHESTER, Conn. — Later Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont, US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and UConn President Tom Katsouleas toured Connecticut Biotech, a new start-up company in South Windsor that is producing innovative, 3D-printed face mask frames.
According to the governor's office, "The technology was developed at UConn under the leadership of UConn Health research team leader Dr. Cato T. Laurencin with the goal of creating a custom mask frame that makes regular surgical masks more protective and help secure filtration."
Officials from CT Biotech produce fitted masks using photos submitted by customers to program 3D printers to create custom fitted mask that will create an optimum barrier for reducing transmission of pathogens like the COVID-19 virus. The masks cost $39 each. The company hopes to scale up to be able to produce up to 20,000 masks per day.
Middletown Public Schools will be providing the CT Biotech masks to teachers and staff.
The company produces the product on site. Each mask takes three hours to print and the company can print eight masks at a time. Officials said they are targeting the mask to health care and other front line workers who require the efficacy of an N95 mask, but may not find those available.
Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz said the state was an innovative manufacturer during Work War II and the company is continuing in that tradition.
State Sen. Dr. Saud Anwar, who represents South Windsor, said customers had the opportunity to protect themselves and create jobs in the community.
U.S Sen. Richard Blumenthal invited President Donald Trump to be fitted for a mask as well.
Wednesday morning, Governor Ned Lamont and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke at a Manchester restaurant to discuss the need for an additional round of funding for small businesses from the federal Payment Protection Program.
Blumenthal and Lamont spoke at Cafe Aura which is owned by UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma. They were joined byScott Dolch, Executive Director of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and Randy McNamara, CEO of Geno’s Restaurant Group.
Sen. Blumenthal stressed that the PPP program was a lifeline for small businesses and needs to be expanded. He said one out of 10 jobs in the state are somehow connected to the restaurant industry and that projections show one out of three restaurants could fail in the coming months.
Blumenthal said President Trump's executive orders over the weekend bear no relation to the needs of small businesses and take money from disaster relief funds at FEMA.
Gov. Lamont said keeping restaurants open is key to bringing at town back to life and PPP funds are really important that process.
Lamont also was adamant about keeping bars closed at this time, citing the experience in Texas, Florida and Arizona. Governors from those states have said they opened bars too soon, according to Lamont.
Later Wednesday, Lamont, Blumenthal, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and UConn President Tom Katsouleas will tour of Connecticut Biotech, a new start-up company in South Windsor that is producing innovative, 3D-printed face mask frames. According to the governor's office, "The technology was developed at UConn under the leadership of UConn Health research team leader Dr. Cato T. Laurencin with the goal of creating a custom mask frame that makes regular surgical masks more protective and help secure filtration."
Connecticut's COVID-19 positivity rate rose above 1% Tuesday after remaining under that benchmark for the past few days.
Governor Lamont's office released the latest state statistics showing 8,338 tests were administered and 117 came back positive, resulting in a 1.4% positivity rate.
Current hospitalizations also increased by six people bringing the state total to 70 patients. There were no COVID-19 related deaths recorded Tuesday. Connecticut has lost 4,444 people due to the virus.
Fairfield County continues to have the most confirmed cases with 17,421, followed by New Haven and Hartford County with 12,821 and 12,183 respectively. Windham County has the fewest confirmed cases in the state with 735.