Senator Collins Joins Puritan’s Announcement of New COVID-19 Test Swab Manufacturing Plant in Pittsfield

The new facility will provide an additional 200 new jobs in Pittsfield and bring Puritan’s total production of COVID-19 testing swabs to at least 90 million per month

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Pittsfield, ME — This morning, U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke at a celebration announcing the future site of Puritan Medical Products’ second facility in Pittsfield. 


Cianbro will convert the former San Antonio Shoe factory into a state-of-the art manufacturing facility capable of producing 50 million flock tip testing swabs per month.  The project is funded by a $51.2 million CARES Act grant Senator Collins announced in August.


“Protecting the health and safety of the American people during the pandemic is my top priority.  It is also imperative that we rebuild a stronger economy that includes increased domestic production of vital medical supplies. This remarkable project between Puritan and Cianbro combines both objectives,” said Senator Collins.  “It is the perfect way to demonstrate the spirit of our great State of Maine.”


“As one of two major manufactures in the world—and the only one in North America—of the swabs required for Covid-19 testing, we realize our obligation to produce as many as we possibly can,” said Timothy Templet, Executive VP and co-owner of Puritan.“We’re grateful for the funding that’s making this possible and hope to have our second plant producing these vital swabs by January of 2021.”


“Teamwork and collaboration were key in keeping the project on schedule,” said Peter Vigue, Chairman of the Board for The Cianbro Companies. “More than 700 construction professionals worked on the project to meet the production startup for Puritan. Two short months later, Puritan began production in their new Pittsfield ISO-8 clean room and are now producing more than 40 million swabs per month to meet the demand of testing supplies in our country.”


Senator Collins provided crucial assistance that made this project possible.  In late August, Cianbro realized that the Pittsfield Development Corporation (PDC) no longer held its status as a 501(c)(3) entity because it had not been active in many years, and they reached out to Senator Collins for help.  In order for MTC Holdings—which owned the shoe factory building—to make the property donation to PDC, this status needed to be reinstated.  Senator Collins immediately went to work to expedite the request with the IRS, and by September 15th, PDC’s 501(c)(3) status was reinstated.  According to the Foundation Group, this approval can take up to a year. 


Once completed, this will be the second factory Cianbro will have retrofitted for Puritan this year to manufacture additional testing swabs.  In April, Senator Collins joined leaders of Puritan and Cianbro in Pittsfield to announce a $75.5 million investment for Puritan, which was used to double production of foam swabs to 40 million per month.  Together, these contracts bring Puritan’s total production of flock tip swabs and foam swabs to at least 90 million per month.


The first facility created 400 manufacturing jobs, and the new facility will create an additional 200 manufacturing jobs at Puritan.  Additionally, more than 700 construction professionals carried out the first renovation, and an estimated 650 will be hired to retrofit this new facility.