March 24, 2020, Carbondale, IL – Among the food and medical packaging products that Com-Pac International manufactures in the Carbondale Industrial Park is a series of containers used for shipping laboratory specimens like blood samples, bacteria, viruses and, yes, COVID-19 samples.
Turns out that the commercial laboratory systems like LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics whose facilities analyze the respiratory samples taken from people suspected of having COVID-19 require that the samples be shipped in a frozen condition in order to preserve the stability of the specimens themselves. In order to address this requirement, Com-Pac launched two products in the last month which are designed around the CDC and DOT requirements for shipping these specimens which the CDC classifies as “Biological Substances Affecting Humans”, and which specify specialized containers, labeling and thermal packaging to transport the specimens so they arrive at the labs in good condition for analysis.
“We have created “pop-up” packaging systems in response to CDC guidelines before, like in the days of the H1N1 virus, Enterovirus and Zika virus. The specific transport requirements are usually a little different among such specimens, such as the temperature at which the samples must remain during shipping, such as frozen, refrigerated or ambient. We usually just use components we already have and configure them according to the Lab systems’ and CDC requirements, include the appropriate labels, instructions, shippers declarations, coolers and shipping cartons,” said Com-Pac President Greg Sprehe. The result this time is their new INF-6200 and INF-6300 Coronavirus Shipping Kits. All of their diagnostic and infectious shippers are tested and certified to UN standards.
SPECIMEN & MEDICAL PRODUCTS RESEALABLE ZIPPER & PACKAGING CUSTOM FLEXIBLES
800 Industrial Park Road Carbondale, Illinois 62901 USA Tel: 800-824-0817 Fax: 618-549-4408 www.com-pac.com
“Because this has all happened so quickly we had to come up with a “pop-up production line” to supplement our normal kit assembly in order to address the worldwide demand for these types of shipping containers,” Sprehe said. Don Wright, Executive VP at Com-Pac and his team had the new production line up and running in about two days and the first full truckload of products completed in about 4 hours, with another 5 -6 truckloads scheduled to for shipment this week.
Com-Pac was designated as an Essential Service Business under the Department of Homeland Security and Governor Pritzker’s direct order specifically because they manufacture food packaging as well as medical products, including their new COVID-19 Shippers.
“Don and I take the designation as an Essential Service Business very seriously. We feel like the Com-Pac team has a particularly important role to play in times like these by providing packaging products which our country needs during this crisis. In addition to our medical products, demand for some of our food packaging products is growing dramatically because folks are stocking-up on inhome cooking products. But our most important responsibility is for the health and safety of our workers,“ Sprehe said. “We have hired personnel to do nothing but clean and disinfect susceptible areas in the plant, prohibited any visitors to the plant, suspended all travel and provided guidance to our workers about hygiene, symptoms and actions in case they believe they might have come in contact with someone having the disease.”
Com-Pac manufactures flexible packaging products for the medical and laboratory specimen handling industries and markets them under several ComPac brand names as well as for private label customers. Additionally, Com-Pac manufactures private label packaging products for fresh-cut produce, frozen foods, stand-up pouch closures and food storage bags. Com-Pac celebrated its 30-year anniversary last November and employs over 225 workers in Carbondale’s industrial park.