Tifton textile factory makes changes to produce personal protective equipment

Tifton textile factory makes changes to produce personal protective equipment

TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - The Tifton location of the American Textile Company restructured operations and is now making thousands of mask covers each day.

“American Textile Company, which is one of our largest employers and a great community partner in Tifton, whenever everything shut down, they laid off about 40 percent of their workforce," said Chris Beckham, the vice president for the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce.

Chris Beckham, the vice president for the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce
Chris Beckham, the vice president for the Tifton-Tift County Chamber of Commerce (Source: WALB)

Most of America was forced to make critical changes as the coronavirus swept through the country.

The American Textile Company found itself changing its operations through a casual conversation that turned into a great idea.

“They came up with an idea of how they could refit some of their machinery, reformat everything and start making mask covers that could be used at the hospital. So they quickly were able to bring back all those they had to furlough," explained Beckham.

Beckham said leaders with Tift Regional Medical Center and the American Textile Company united together to provide 2,000 mask covers a day to help those on the frontlines, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justin Beck, the chief strategy and innovation officer for the Tift Regional Health System
Justin Beck, the chief strategy and innovation officer for the Tift Regional Health System (Source: WALB)

“You could take the mask cover and launder it and continue to use that mask for other patients throughout the day and still have a clean protective surface," said Justin Beck, the chief strategy and innovation officer for the Tift Regional Health System.

Beckham said the American Textile Company took a big hit financially. The company began exploring possibilities to not only help the company but Tift Regional as well.

“Maybe going forward it is what may be, become the norm thinking more of locally, thinking how we can help each other where it can be beneficial you know, in the economic development we are always looking for a win-win," said Beckham.

The company’s goal is to make 1 million masks for the staff at hospitals around the country.

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