This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, 2020, with more information.
Mohawk Industries and Fabric Sources International have started production of medical isolation gowns and protective face shields to help urgent medical supply needs at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton and Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
Nearly 1,000 medical gowns are being donated to Hamilton Medical Center and the companies have also begun supplying gowns to Emory Healthcare.
Mohawk, a Calhoun, Ga.-based rug manufacturing facility, is providing industrial sewing equipment for their employees to produce the critical medical protective gear and is using fabric provided by FSI.
The medical gowns are made to wear in non-surgical settings to prevent their clothing from being contaminated by patient body fluids. They are worn when a patient shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other infectious diseases.
"When we were made aware that our local hospital was out of these gowns, we were asked, 'Do you think you can do this?" Mohawk sewing department manager Darlene Pasley said in a statement Thursday. "Our quick answer was 'yes', even though we didn't yet know how to do it and had never done anything like this before. We just knew we had to do what we could to help."
Pasley's team first disassembled a medical isolation gown and put it back together nearly two weeks ago. Within a day Mohawk set up a small assembly line to make the equipment direly needed by their local hospital. Now, production has gone from a few gowns to 1,200 per day.
"I'm so happy we are able to help our doctors and nurses," Mohawk's lead sample rug sewing machine operator Wanda Rowe said. "We sometimes take for granted that the supplies we need to do our jobs will always be there. The first gown was very tedious to put together, but when the rest of the gown sewing team worked together, things came together like clockwork."
The face shields being manufactured by the companies have been approved by the hospitals. In the days to come while fighting COVID-19, Mohawk and FSI plan to expand production to try and help other local hospitals facing supply shortages.