Joint effort represents key partnership within iQ Healthtech Labs™
OLD FORT, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After pivoting its premium cycling apparel production to make face masks and face shields for first responders and medical providers in Western North Carolina eight weeks ago with support from the Dogwood Health Trust, Kitsbow is pleased to announce the launch of a new face mask product, this time in collaboration with a team from Wake Forest Baptist Health, led by the health system’s Chief Wellness Officer, Dr. Bill Satterwhite. This effort produced a new face mask design that provides long-wearing comfort where protection is essential, especially for front line workers in critical industries.
“Our first priority with personal protective equipment is protecting front line workers, and now we’ve kicked it up a notch by combining our expert apparel design and manufacturing with Wake Forest Baptist Health’s deep experience in community health, wellness, and infection prevention,” said David Billstrom, Kitsbow CEO. “Just like our cycling apparel, our face masks are designed to fit so well that you stop thinking about wearing it, almost as if it disappears.”
The Wake ProTech by iQ Healthtech™ Reusable Face Mask adds long-wearing comfort where protection is essential, especially for Front Line workers in critical industries. The easily adjustable straps help to achieve a high-quality fit, especially across the cheekbones, which is important to minimize fogging of your glasses.
“The health of the community is our top priority,” said Dr. Bill Satterwhite, Chief Wellness Officer, Wake Forest Baptist Health. “We are so delighted by our partnership with Kitsbow, which combines their design and manufacturing expertise and with our clinical and professional input, enabling us to develop a comfortable, attractive mask that we have confidence in as specialists in public health.”
The Wake ProTech by iQ Healthtech™ Reusable Face Mask consists of four layers, starting with an exterior layer of premium jacquard fabric milled just for Kitsbow, in North Carolina, followed by two layers of protective filter media (sewn into the mask), and finished with an inner layer of 100-percent cotton muslin. Every component of this mask is made in the U.S. except the cord locks that secure the mask to the user’s head.
The mask is offered in six sizes ranging from extra small (XS) to double extra-large (XXL) to help ensure a comfortable and more uniform fit around the face without gaping.
Kitsbow already offers the Kitsbow Face Mask, Reusable, HEPA Type which it began shipping in March as one of the first commercially-produced reusable fabric face masks in the U.S. Initially, Kitsbow’s production capability meant that sale was restricted exclusively to first responders and medical providers via a partnership with the Dogwood Health Trust in Western North Carolina.
Recently Kitsbow began making this face mask available to the public, in limited quantities, at Kitsbow.com/PPE.
The Kitsbow Face Mask utilizes a replaceable HEPA-type filter inserted into a pocket of the two-fabric layer mask. Like the Wake ProTech by iQ Healthtech™ Reusable Face Mask, the original Kitsbow Face Mask is also reusable, reducing unnecessary waste and reducing the aggregate cost of protection compared to disposable filters. Replacement filter media for this face mask are available for purchase from Kitsbow.
Important Information: These products are not a surgical mask or FFR (filtering facepiece respirator), and Kitsbow does not make any particular claims of particulate filtration or antimicrobial protection. These face masks should not be used in any surgical setting, or where significant exposure to liquid, bodily or other hazardous fluids may be expected. It should not be worn in the presence of a high-intensity heat source or flammable gas. The FDA has confirmed it does not object to the distribution and sale of face masks of this type (FDA Enforcement Policy for Face Masks and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease, Revised, April 2020). See www.kitsbow.com/PPE for more information on the PPE products.
Kitsbow was established in Sonoma County, California eight years ago by dedicated mountain bikers and apparel industry veterans. Because its designers have logged years in the saddle, each detail is obsessively considered. Every element — down to zippers and reflective piping — is vetted for quality, style, and durability. Relocating its manufacturing to Old Fort, North Carolina in 2019, Kitsbow is committed to a Made to Order manufacturing model, minimizing waste and maximizing flexibility to serve the customer. Kitsbow already makes over 50% of its products in the U.S.A. and is on track to be making all of its products in-house by 2021. To learn more about Kitsbow, visit www.kitsbow.com.
About Wake Forest Baptist Health
(www.wakehealth.edu) is a pre-eminent academic health system based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Wake Forest Baptist’s two main components are an integrated clinical system – anchored by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, an 885-bed tertiary-care hospital in Winston-Salem – that includes Brenner Children’s Hospital, five community hospitals, more than 300 primary and specialty care locations and more than 2,500 physicians; and Wake Forest School of Medicine, a recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research that includes Wake Forest Innovations, a commercialization enterprise focused on advancing health care through new medical technologies and biomedical discovery.
About Innovation Quarter, home to iQ Healthtech Labs
Innovation Quarter is a vibrant, mixed-use innovation district located in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Anchored by Wake Forest School of Medicine, it is home to a community of more than 3,400 workers in 90 companies and four other institutions of higher learning where almost 1,800 degree-seeking students come to learn every day. In addition to more than 1,100 residential units, the Innovation Quarter also features a dynamic urban park, publicly accessible greenway and free community events that make this a true “Live.Work.Learn.Play” community. It is also home to iQ Healthtech Labs, a virtual and physical partnership hub that leverages the unique, world-class intellectual anchors that exist within the Innovation Quarter and seeks to pair them with industry and commercial partners to advance breakthrough ideas into the marketplace.
About Dogwood Health Trust
Dogwood Health Trust is a North Carolina nonprofit corporation with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust became operational upon the sale of Mission Health’s assets to HCA Healthcare and is the recipient of the net proceeds of the sale. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.