Calif. phone case company starts making masks as need for medical gear grows

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KEYT/CNN) - As the need to medical gear becomes urgent, a California company is among those trying to change what it supplies to meet the demand.

Santa Barbara-based Nomad normally makes phone and laptop accessories, but in the past week that focus has quickly changed. The company is now using its production and shipping center in China to make surgical masks as global demand skyrockets.

“We've opened up Pandora's box of need here, and we're throwing everything we have at it,” the company’s co-founder, Noah Dentzel, said.

Nomad said their goal is to get as many masks to as many people who need them as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

A few hundred masks will be donated locally while about a half million more are already on order to go to health care workers, delivery drivers, and others around the world.

“I think that what this mission shows is that even smaller, medium-sized companies, if they work quickly to adapt themselves, they can be part of this and have a meaningful impact,” Dentzel said.

And masks may only be the beginning. Nomad is now also looking at how to make and distribute other personal protective equipment.

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