A Lawrenceville company was highlighted by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office this past week for it’s assistance in protecting poll workers for the June 9 primary election.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said his office purchased 35,000 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized non-surgical face masks from Marena Group in Gwinnett County for the election. Those masks will be distributed among Georgia’s 159 counties.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure voters, poll workers and election officials stay safe while participating in this election during a pandemic,” Raffensperger said. “I am proud to get these critical masks and sanitizer from Georgia companies.”

Early voting in the primary began this past Monday and will continue through June 5. The ballot includes the state’s presidential preference primary, delayed since March because of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, as well as the state’s general primary, which was delayed from this month because of the outbreak.

Raffensperger’s office said more than 1.3 million absentee ballots have been mailed to Georgians, and more than 360,000 of them have already been returned. That is the largest use of absentee voting in a modern election in Georgia, the Secretary of State’s Office said.

The masks purchased from Marena Group for poll workers contains a Silvadur antibacterial protection which is designed to protect the wearers face, including the nose and mouth. Silvadur is USDA approved.

The masks are also made with a TriFlex fabric that has a #D stretch and is designed to be skin-friendly and reusable, with users able to wash them up to 50 times before they begin to lose their effectiveness.

Marena normally produces post-surgical garments, but it announced in late April that it had received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA to begin producing the masks to help address a need for personal protection equipment among health care workers.

“Being an FDA approved medical device manufacturer, our company, production lines and employees are uniquely qualified to respond to the current epidemic and shortage of face masks,” said Marena Group president and chief executive officer Dale Clendon said in late April. “We felt the obligation to answer the call to produce these new Reusable Antibacterial non-surgical PPE masks.

“They meet the criteria of the FDA guidance as a Class I medical device to be used by the general public and by health care professionals in a healthcare setting. The Marena masks are reusable, durable and machine-washable up to 50 times without losing effectiveness; they can also be steam cleaned and ironed at high temperatures to help eliminate germ particles. They are thoughtfully designed for comfort and active, long-term use.”

Marena Group is not the only Georgia company providing supplies to protect poll workers, however.

Albany-based Pretoria Fields Collective is providing 30,000 eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer that are being used in county polling locations.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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