NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WJBF) — Factories across the country have called an audible to start manufacturing the precious personal protective equipment that hospitals so desperately need. Right now, multiple local companies are helping with the pandemic effort.

Carolina CoverTech in North Augusta, SC makes products to cover, protect, contain and enclose. Now, the company is making impermeable hospital gowns to cover and protect doctors and nurses.

Carolina CoverTech Owner and President Rian True got a call about a month ago from someone at University Hospital to ask if they could make PPE.

The Edgfield County factory did not make impermeable gowns 4 weeks ago. Now they can crank out 2,000 a day.

“It took us about 2 weeks to go from never having made a unit to get to that number and now we are able to exceed that number,” says True who has taken calls from hospitals aross the country that also want gowns made.

Operations Manager Lisa Stuart says after their Friday call with University Hospital, they bought new equipment and hired more people in just a few days.

“It mean it was quick,” Stuart says. “Tuesday we got an okay from the hospital. We got commitment from the suppliers, got things ordered and started the first shift only. We then added a second shift. I think we’ve added about 18 people now and still adding.”

Stuart describes who they are looking to hire.

“We have to be efficient. Our quality has to be top of the line and just a good work ethic,” Stuart says. “People who want to help. This group, the whole team here likes to help.”

Product and Process Developer David Reed says they worked with University Hospital to develop a gown that fit their needs.

“Our first iteration of it was a little bit heavier so we tried to go with a little bit lighter weight and they had to be able to tear it off,” Reed explains.

For the team at Carolina CoverTech, their new production is about more than just plastic gowns.

“Times are tough and for those people out there on the front line, anything that we can do, we even put a small flyer in there just thanking them,” Stuart says. “I just can’t begin to think what they’re going through so if i can do something like this, if we can get some gowns and some hands and some protection, that’s what it’s about.”

CLICK HERE for more information about how to apply for the open positions at Carolina CoverTech.

Photojournalist Gary Hipps