After Bauer, a U.S.-based company that manufactures hockey gear, announced Wednesday it would shift from making helmet visors to start mass production on face shields amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it didn’t take long for the calls, emails and other messages to start rolling in.

Medical professionals — including nurses, hospital executives and first responders — have contacted Bauer, asking for gear as they continue to work on the coronavirus front lines, according to the company. Since it started to produce face shields less than 48 hours ago, Bauer has received interest in more than 1 million medical shields. It is already set to produce 300,000 units — its current capacity.

Demand was so high that the company decided to not take any new orders, instead focusing on working through the current backlog, which built up in just a few days.

The company also will be turning to its third-party manufacturers for help. Bauer is based in Exeter, N.H., and is making medical shields at facilities in Blainville, Quebec, and Liverpool, N.Y.

“We are one company, and we are not going to be able to make a dent to this thing, but one thing we can do is make a call for action for other companies,” Bauer CEO Ed Kinnaly said in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon.

With Bauer unable to fulfill all of the orders that are coming in, the company is urging other manufacturers to help. Over the weekend, it decided to publish manufacturing instructions, designs and supplier information for the face shields to encourage others to begin production.

“The more companies that we can get on the bandwagon to help build these, the better off we are going to be, and it is going to shorten the time it takes to get over the hump,” Kinnaly said. “And then it is going to keep the real heroes out there safe and sound.”

Big-name companies, such as Ford, have reached out to Bauer to inquire about manufacturing details, according to Kinnaly, who said Bauer will help Ford get started on the project if it ultimately decides to take part.

Bauer is not the only sports company to shift its focus amid the outbreak. Sports apparel company Fanatics halted production of Major League Baseball jerseys at its Pennsylvania factory and will instead produce protective masks and gowns.

“The response has been overwhelming, but we can’t take solace in that,” Kinnaly said. “We need others to pitch in. We want others to copy and paste. We need an affirmative call to action.”

Prototypes of Bauer’s first shields already have been distributed, with the company’s first mass shipment of medical shields set to go out Monday. Kinnaly said the interest has come from across the United States and Canada.

“I don’t believe anybody understands the depth of the challenge and shortage of supply for medical equipment. … We need more companies to learn — and quickly,” Kinnaly said.

Kinnaly said he expects Bauer to be able to effectively produce 70,000 face shields per week by the third week of April. He expects that number to double once third-party manufacturers get involved.

The Washington Post spoke to doctors throughout the country who say shortages of medical equipment and supplies could cost lives. (The Washington Post)