CHESTERTOWN — A Kent County manufacturer joined the fight against the coronavirus pandemic by leaping into the production of much-ought after hand sanitizer.
Since 1919, the LaMotte Co., originally located in Baltimore, has been known for providing quality equipment and guidance for water analysis. Today, the company designs and manufactures reagents, instruments and test kits in Chestertown.
But by the end of March amid the COVID-19 pandemic, LaMotte team members reportedly began discussing how they could help the community during this unexpected crisis.The outcome was hand sanitizer for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health and other local organizations, according to a release from the health care system.
“We are deeply grateful for the donation of hand sanitizer for our home care nurses,” said Trish Focht, manager, UM Shore Home Care and Chester River Home Care. “LaMotte is truly helping our front-line health care workers stay safe during this pandemic.”
In the release, Andy Glenn, LaMotte’s operational excellence manager, said production of hand sanitizer was a logical choice, since the company already produces liquid reagents for use in water testing.
As internal discussions got under way, the LaMotte Co. was reportedly asked by the Kent County Office of Emergency Services if it could produce hand sanitizer for volunteer fire and rescue companies. Chester River Health Foundation sent a request for donations of items, including hand sanitizer, to UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, according to the release.
Within a week and half, LaMotte chemists and technicians were able to make a few small 10-liter batches, later ramping up to 100-liter batches. In less than a month, LaMotte has supplied the Kent County EMS, the UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown and Easton, UM Chester River Home Care, UM Shore Home Care and other local health care, public safety and social service organizations with sanitizer, the release states.
Glenn is pleased with his team’s ability to accomplish so much, so quickly, the release states.
"We are fortunate that we have been able to use our essential status to provide needed supplies to our neighbors on the front lines of this pandemic and to make a real difference in our community. I was proud that the team was able to come together, without reservation, and each use their unique skill sets to move this project from conception to reality in less than 10 days," he said.
Making and bottling the sanitizer was not difficult, he said in the release. He said greater difficulty laid in researching a formula and completing the required federal government paperwork to launch production.
“Additionally, when it was manufactured, considerations had to be taken due to the flammability of the alcohol, so it was made and poured in a well ventilated, clean area,” Glenn said.
Lydia Johnson, LaMotte chemist, said in the release that the team would like to continue producing hand sanitizer throughout the health crisis, as the supply of alcohol, which is limited, permits.
“I was happy to contribute in my small way to support those on the front lines and only wish the materials were more readily available so we could do more,” Johnson said.