Virgin Orbit, a Long Beach aerospace company, is waiting federal approval for a new ventilator that it plans to manufacture and distribute to hospitals in the company weeks, according to a statement released Monday, March 30.
The company said it hopes to begin production at its Long Beach facility by early April. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, during an afternoon press briefing, said the company could start manufacturing the ventilators in the first couple of weeks of April.
“We are all heartbroken each night as we turn on the news and see the predicament facing doctors and nurses as they heroically work to save lives,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a statement. “We are hopeful that this device can help as we all prepare for the challenges ahead.”
The news of the new ventilators came the same day health officials said a peak in Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 numbers could come by late April. The county has 2,474 confirmed cases and 44 deaths.
Virgin Orbit has worked with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium to develop a simple “bridge” ventilator that could be used for COVID-19 patients who don’t need intensive care or have partially recovered. That, Virgin Orbit said in its statement, would free up the more complex, “high-end” ventilators hospitals have for more serious cases.
The Bridge Ventilator Consortium is a team of health professionals and researchers trying to solve the national shortage of ventilators; UC Irvine and the University of Texas at Austin have led the effort.Source…