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Local paper products part of the medical fight against COVID-19

Mills are operating around the block to try to meet demand

Members of the Maryland Air National Guard prepare and load medical supplies and equipment (Photo courtesy of the Maryland National Guard)

MADISON, Wis. -- Having classified pulp and paper mills and paper converting operations as essential businesses during the COVID-19 shut down in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers emphasized the importance of paper conversion operations to health care.

“Wisconsin’s paper and converting industries …...produce products Wisconsinites, and the rest of the country, depend on during the COVID-19 epidemic. Safely keeping up supply of these essential goods will help everyone overcome the challenges currently facing our state,” Evers said.

Paper producers and converters combine rolls of paper with films and substrates to manufacture medical and other products. There are several steps in creating finished, packaged products. They include mill production, automated precision cutting, application of antibacterial agents, coatings, and layering of finely “woven” materials.

“Many of these crucial products are in high demand and medical necessities. The production of these essential products cannot be done remotely and must continue to operate. Facilities have taken careful steps to protect both their workforce and their customers from the spread of COVID-19,” according to a statement from an industry advocacy group, the Wisconsin Paper Council.

“Our mills are working around the clock to manufacture and distribute personal and medical supplies where needed. We appreciate the Governor exempting our operations from his Safer at Home executive order,” said Scott Suder, president of the Wisconsin Paper Council.

Many of the operations are located between Green Bay and Milwaukee, referred to by the council as “conversion corridor”.

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