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Honeywell Hiring 500 In Phoenix To Make Urgently-Needed N95 Masks

N95 respirator masks
Tim Agne/KJZZ
Approved N95 respirator masks made by 3M.

The manufacturer Honeywell says it’s creating a new production line to make N95 masks at its Phoenix plant and will need 500 new workers. 

Honeywell said this new production line, plus an earlier expansion in Rhode Island, means it can make over 20 million N95 masks each month.

The masks will go to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services for the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile. Honeywell said it’s possible it will make N95 masks for other buyers as well.

Honeywell also committed last week to producing 6 million N95 masks for Arizona health care workers.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s press secretary Patrick Ptak says these will supplement the state’s share of the Federal Strategic Stockpile at a much-needed time in the state’s coronavirus curve.

"It will definitely help but we know we need more, especially in the near term, in the next coming weeks and months, as models predict that cases and hospitalizations will peak," Ptak said.

Hiring has already started for the new positions, and manufacturing equipment is on its way, the company says. Honeywell will continue to make aircraft technology at its Phoenix factory near Sky Harbor.

N95 masks (also called an N95 filtering facepiece respirator) filter out 95% of airborne particles. They are in high demand to protect health care workers from infection as they treat patients with COVID-19. 

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease 

Bret Jaspers was previously the managing editor for news at WSKG in upstate New York. Before that, he was a producer at WYPR in Baltimore and at Wisconsin Public Radio.His stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Here & Now, and also the BBC and Marketplace. Way back when, he started as an intern and fill-in producer at WNYC’s On the Media, and then helped out on The Brian Lehrer Show and Soundcheck.When he's not covering the news, he's probably running, reading, or eating. Jaspers is also a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional stage actors.