As the COVID-19 pandemic fades away into the rearview mirror, so does the need for mass-manufacturing of COVID-19 test swabs. And, one of the largest producers of those swabs, Puritan Medical Products, based in Pittsfield, Maine, is getting ready to shutter a large portion of its workforce.

According to the Kennebec Journal, Puritan Medical Products is one of the two leading manufacturers of test swabs globally. Puritan says they will be eliminating approximately 272 of their positions with 215 of those coming from the Pittsfield location, the news site states.

Some plants will be shutting down completely like the one in Orlinda, Tennessee and that plant prepares to consolidate with the operations in Maine, the KJ reported on Wednesday.

A statement from Puritan Medical Products that was released to media outlets read in part;

“These actions are the latest — and hopefully last — measures taken in response to the post-COVID downturn,” company officials wrote in the announcement. “With lower demand for swabs and other products — compared to COVID driven peaks — Puritan has implemented these measures aimed at strengthening its operational and financial base to ensure that it is best positioned to succeed given the new market realities.”

Bob Shultz, Puritan’s president and chief financial officer, said in part about the upcoming layoffs that they aren't just "minor changes in people's lives" but rather "major disruptions to the livelihoods of employees and the families as well as the communities where we live and work.

He added, "However, the swiftness and significance of the post COVID market correction has sustained and, while Puritan does not take these measures lightly, we feel that they are necessary.”

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