LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Even though the conversation seems focused on the vaccine right now, health experts are still asking us to wear masks. Universal Medical Supply (UMS) in Louisville recently started mass producing them, churning out up to 7.8 million masks a month.

“It’s not difficult to make a mask. It’s difficult to make a good mask,” said the company’s President William Paynter.

What You Need To Know

  • A company in Louisville is mass producing N95 and medical-grade masks

  • Universal Medical Supply can manufacture 7.8 million masks each month

  • The company's president believes demand will continue even after herd immunity is reached

  • The masks are 100% made in the U.S. and assembled in Louisville

UMS currently makes disposable N95 masks and 3-Ply surgical masks. The company tested their systems last November to gear up for production in January and February of this year.

Per eight-hour-shift, Paynter said just over 22,000 N95 masks and 40,000-50,000 3-Ply surgical masks are made. He also said all of the materials are made in the United States that are used to assemble the masks at UMS’s Louisville facility.

“The biggest challenge that you have when buying from Asia than you do here, you have the lack of lack of confidence that it’s actually real; it’s going to take you 45 to 60 days to get here; and you’re going to have to pay for that upfront. We erase all those issues,” Paynter told Spectrum News 1.

Paynter said UMS can turn around one to two million masks for a customer within a week to 10 days. Its current customers are in healthcare, long-term care, and government contracts. 

“Right now what we’re seeing is the demand for long-term care and hospitals is maintaining its current pace. Though, it might fall off a little bit 15-20% over the next quarter or so just so they can work through some of those stock piles that they built up,” Paynter explained. 

He also thinks that medical-grade masks bought by the everyday consumer will go down.

“You’ll still need them to fly. You’ll still need them to go into public places, the Yum Center and those type of things, but we see that will taper off over the next 24 months,” he said. 

However, Paynter thinks wearing a mask in certain places, like a hospital or on a plane, will continue even after the pandemic is over. 

“And that’s just the reality. This is a 9/11 type moment. The fact that 95 percent of these 3-Ply masks were made overseas, we are going to have a massive reshoring here in the United States of this specific product for the years to come,” Paynter said.

Paynter said UMS will ramp up production of its masks in Louisville even more, with plans to add another five N95 mask machines and another four 3-Ply mask machines. The long-term goal, he said, is to make 22 million to 24 million masks a month.

To learn more about Universal Medical Supply or to purchase its masks online, visit the company website