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Nor-Tech buoys COVID-19 initiatives

By Staff | Apr 9, 2020

A leader in the boat-building industry is doing its part to help feed the hungry in Southwest Florida and also supply crucial medical equipment to local facilities while the country continues to feel the impacts of COVID-19.

Nor-Tech, a Cape Coral based high-performance boat manufacturer, on Monday began collecting food at its warehouse to donate to the Cape Coral Caring Center, and recently delivered 300 masks, made in-house at Nor-Tech, to Lee Health facilities.

This drive does not have a tentative “end date,” as they will collect food for the community until needs have subsided and the pandemic slows.

“We wanted to figure out a way to help,” said Nor-Tech President Trond Schou. “We feel that food is a huge problem here. People haven’t received their money from the government either yet and people can start to starve. We need to start feeding people, now.”

Residents can drop off donations to Nor-Tech’s warehouse as well as the Cape Coral Caring Center.

In keeping with Center for Disease Control-issued COVID-19 safety guidelines, Nor-Tech will establish protocols for food drop-offs and distribution. The team there will create a designated drop-off space that falls within those guidelines, and will handle proper cleaning procedures of collected packaged/canned food before it is distributed.

Schou called upon his colleagues in the industry to step up in the same fashion.

“I’m inviting all of the other high-performance marine industry players to do the same thing, just like we did to raise money for the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian,” he said. “They can accept food, in compliance with all social distancing standards and distribute it to their networks of charitable food providers. The most important thing is that we get this started immediately because they need food right now.”

When it came to creating masks, his neighbor and Lee Health hospitalist, Dr. Asid Azam, approached Schou, informing him of the need for masks around the area.

Schou told him to provide some materials and that they would be able to produce masks. What they produced is an alternative to N95 masks for emergency room patients to wear. While they cannot be used as a substitute for N95s, the masks offer a higher level of protection than cloth masks. They are made out Halyard H600 two-ply spun polypropylene-a material already found in hospitals that cannot be penetrated by water, bacteria or particles.

“We have four people that are sewing face masks non-stop,” Schou said. “We’re going to keep on sewing like crazy here.”

Schou said they continue to receive materials to make masks, and figures they can create about 100 per day.

“This is a time where everybody has to team up and help each other out,” Schou said. “That’s why we felt the food collection was a great idea, as well as helping the hospitals with the masks.” Nor-Tech Boats is at 2520 N.E. 9th Ave.

Cape Coral Caring Center is at 4645 SE 15th Ave.

For more information, contact Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, 239-567-5030.

– Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj