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COVID: Hauts-de-France is mobilising #2

30 Mar 2020 | Front page, A region on the move

The wave of solidarity continues in Hauts-de-France. Companies such as Roquette, Lemahieu and even OVH are joining the fight against the coronavirus.

COViD, coronavirus, solidarity, roquette, ovh, decathlon


Article updated 23/4/2020

Lemahieu designs a mask in conjunction with Lille University Hospital (CHU) and unites a community of more than 24,000 volunteers

The mobilisation continues to grow in Hauts-de-France. 72,000 masks have already been distributed to hospitals around the Lille Metropolis and Lemahieu has a network of 24,000 volunteers it can count on, even if only 1,500 have been mobilised so far. Now called upon by local authorities, the company plans to increase production of its kits from the 10,000 it has already to 20,000. It is up to the local authorities to find the manpower to put them together, using volunteers and production workshops. 150,000 units have already been cut out in the workshops and Lemahieu is currently working on an improved version of the Garridou mask as well as a second design aimed for BtoB sale.


The textile company Lemahieu, located in Saint-André-Lez-Lille, reopened at the end of March with around 15 volunteer designers. Working with the CHU, these highly-motivated employees have designed a washable mask that is almost equivalent to conventional surgical protection: the Garridou. It is an additional solution to the recommended disposable masks.

Thanks to a number of dedicated teams, 3,000 masks per day are expected to leave the workshop. That number should increase significantly following the call for volunteers recently launched with the residents of the Hauts-de-France region. In just one day more than 10,000 volunteers have come forward. They will receive ready-to-assemble mask kits. Each mask will be checked by Lemahieu before being handed over to medical personnel.

Roquette: responding to the hydroalcoholic gel shortage

As the medical profession faces a lack of resources, Roquette, which produces plant based ingredients and proteins, is launching production of hydroalcoholic gel on one of its pilot production lines at Lestrem (Pas-de-Calais).

The company has obtained regulatory approvals and modified the production line.

Up to 5,000 of hydroalcoholic solution will be produced each week and will supply:

  • Hospitals: working with the Regional Health Agency, the product will be distributed free of charge
  • The company’s internal requirements so that it can continue its business under the best possible health and safety conditions for employees

DECATHLON gives the 3-D designs for its snorkelling mask to be adapted as an artificial respirator

Faced with the extremes of the coronavirus pandemic and the equipment shortage, companies are demonstrating just how innovative they can be. Italian company Isinnova has asked the northern company Decathlon to provide with the Easybreath mask designs in order to turn it into a respirator.

A successful gambit. Using 3-D printing, Isinnova has succeeded in creating a valve to connect the mask to an artificial respirator. The prototype, which is not certified but has been tested successfully, remains a back-up resource to be used only in the event of extreme necessity.

OVH provides free clouds to enable continuity of services

The mobilisation against COVID does not stop at the health sector: in response to the crisis, the web hosting company OVH, whose head office is in Roubaix, has launched Open Solidarity. Throughout the lockdown period, the internationally renowned company is providing free hosting solutions. These services, which are offered on a no commitment basis, are intended for companies who are now working remotely or those who want to offer their own services for free.

To take advantage of this offer, companies just have to complete a contact form which is available at:

Marzal: A physical barrier to the coronavirus with Plexiglas screens

In reaction to the crisis, the Wormhois based group Marzal (which also owns the Raddis alarm and security company) has invented protective Plexiglas screens. Designed to allow continuity of services to the public (police, doctors, pharmacies, etc.), these 90 x 60cm Plexiglas screens are an effective physical barrier against contamination.

The company, which usually specialises in funeral supplies, has dedicated one person full- time to the manufacture of this new product. 350 panels per day are being produced.

Sources: La voix du nord,, Roquette, OVH

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