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Virgin Galactic: Supporting our local communities in New Mexico in the fight against COVID-19

Press Release From: Virgin Galactic
Posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2020

By Mike Moses, President at Virgin Galactic

As we continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, I would like to thank our team for the perseverance, compassion and determination they have shown in our home of New Mexico with their ongoing effort to support local communities in response to the challenge of COVID-19.

As part of our relief efforts, we have made several donations of medical supplies to communities and hospitals in California and New Mexico. Donations have included meals, masks, suits, PAPRs, and gloves to local hospitals including Memorial Medical Center, MountainView Regional Medical Center, and Ben Archer Center, as well as offering support to Sierra Vista Hospital in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, the hospital located within Sierra County, where Spaceport America resides. We have also donated our existing stock of several hundred N95 masks to Memorial Medical and MountainView Regional Centers, as well as out of state in California and Illinois. 

Most recently, we have made contributions of $30,000 to the purchase of essential equipment and PPE for our local medical centers in Las Cruces. So far, we have been able to deliver 6 Airwash air scrubbers to MountainView Regional Medical Center. These air scrubbers will help the hospital filter the air within a given area to remove contaminants. 

Several weeks ago, we also shared news of our work with the Antelope Valley COVID-19 Task Force – and just yesterday, signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, committing us to developing innovative solutions to support local communities and healthcare workers on the frontlines. Alongside NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Antelope Valley College, The Spaceship Company, and the City of Lancaster, CA, we have worked to deliver our joint mission of developing solutions to protect healthcare workers and save lives in local medical facilities. Together, the team has been working on specialist equipment, including our prototype patient oxygen hoods, which allow oxygen rich pressure to support those admitted with COVID-19. These prototypes are now being tested for comfort, ease of use and functionality and we will also be reviewing options for FDA authorization and wider testing with subsequent availability in Las Cruces.

We are also working with a team at Texas-based Sea-Long Medical Systems, which is manufacturing hyperbaric oxygen hoods, to help them ramp up production and make hoods available to people across the country. Several oxygen hoods from Sea-Long have already been donated to the Memorial and MountainView Regional Medical Centers in Las Cruces. The Antelope Valley COVID-19 Task Force identified a need in the Gallup Indian Health Care Center and Navajo communities in New Mexico, and we hope to send more oxygen hoods to those areas to support the demand for protective hoods.

Last month, the State of New Mexico launched its COVID-19 relief fund called All Together New Mexico, and we were very proud to support our community by donating $10,000. In Las Cruces, we have also contributed to the Together Las Cruces fund with a donation of $25,000. This fund, coordinated by the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico will support Doña Ana county residents who have had a significant loss of income as a result of COVID-19 executive orders. We have also supported the American Red Cross of New Mexico, El Paso, and Arizona Region with a donation of $10,000.

In addition to these community donations to support our State, our local people, and the humanitarian and emergency response efforts of our local American Red Cross, we have also supported our healthcare workers and medical professionals in the fight against the virus by delivering boxed lunches to medical centers in New Mexico. We have already provided 1,100 total lunches to Memorial Medical Center, MountainView Regional Medical Center, and Ben Archer Health Center frontline staff, and we are assembling care packages for staff working extra shifts. 

Outside of all this, I would like to highlight our team. Our flight surgeon Dr. Tarah Castleberry helps coordinate these efforts with our procurement and supply chain departments from both Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company. Together these departments ensure we are able to source critical items to support our communities. I am incredibly proud of what our employees have achieved over the past weeks, and admire every one of them for their generosity and determination to help our local communities in New Mexico and California. 

Virgin Galactic will continue making every effort within its means to help its employees and communities through this global crisis. Our work is not over, and we look forward to continuing to support and empower the communities in which we operate, and the communities we now call home.

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