In this Dec. 17, 2018, file photo, a pair of athletic shoes designed for the military are laced up at a New Balance factory in Norridgewock. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

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New Balance is the latest manufacturer to say it will start producing personal protective equipment to fill the shortages of medical supplies caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Boston-based New Balance, which makes running shoes, said it would muster a portion of its U.S. manufacturing workers to develop and make face masks.

New Balance has factories in Norridgewock and Norway and factory stores in Skowhegan, Kittery and Oxford.

The company announced the changeover on its website, where the homepage shows a medical mask with the words “Made shoes yesterday. Making masks today,” above it.

“We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, Massachusetts, manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon,” the website said. “We are coordinating our efforts with our government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities.”

A spokesperson for the company wasn’t immediately available to comment on when the Maine factories would start production nor how many masks they would make.

Lori Valigra, investigative reporter for the environment, holds an M.S. in journalism from Boston University. She was a Knight journalism fellow at M.I.T. and has extensive international reporting experience...