Published on April 13, 2020

Local Surgeon Instrumental in Securing Masks

masks arrival at NMMCCardiothoracic surgeon David Talton, M.D., saves lives every day at North Mississippi Medical Center, but he usually does it one patient at a time. This week Dr. Talton will play a part in saving thousands here.

In addition to being a surgeon, Dr. Talton is co-owner of America Knits, a T-shirt and bra factory in Swainsboro, Georgia. About three weeks ago, he and his business partner were contacted by the federal government to make reusable silver- and copper-impregnated isolation masks. Dr. Talton offered North Mississippi Health Services the opportunity to purchase the first masks his company manufactured.

“This is a game changer in terms of reuse,” says Kevin Moraski, NMHS vice president of supply chain and support services. “It’s a much better alternative than cloth masks because it’s impregnated with silver and copper.”  

Dr. Talton worked with Century Logistics of Tupelo to pick up 10,000 masks this week to deliver to the hospital. “I wanted the people I work with to have them first and as soon as possible,” Dr. Talton says. “This is not an N95 respirator mask, but it’s the next best thing for people at high risk. The fabric is finished with silver and copper, key components to kill the virus. Unlike other fabric masks, these masks protect both the wearer and surrounding people.”

The U.S. government has contracted with America Knits, which had only 70 employees until a few weeks ago, to produce 1.5 million masks. “We’re hiring as fast as we can hire and working a 10-hour day shift and a 12-hour night shift to meet the demand,” Dr. Talton says. America Knits is part of a Mask Consortium that also includes Parkdale, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Sanmar, Los Angeles Apparel and Beverly Knits.

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