NYS delivers much-needed safety masks to Erie County

Mar 31, 2020

Hospitals across Erie County on Monday received new shipments of the safety masks that are essential to keeping doctors, nurses and other health care personnel safe.

The masks were half of a shipment delivered on Sunday by New York State. The other half is going to nursing homes and other healthcare providers, per Albany.

"Senior nursing home facilities will be getting the next 25%. First Responders will get 15% and then other healthcare providers get 10%," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz in his daily briefing Monday. "So, a lot of questions. Are we giving these out to the public? Can we give them to other organizations? The answer is no. Under the agreement we have with New York State, these go first and only to health care providers based on the percentage."

The county executive said these are not from the massive purchase the county made last week. Poloncarz says those should be delivered from a Taiwan company before April 10, already approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a veteran supplier.

"Because those are in such scarce demand, we are getting them right from one of the manufacturers. It's taking a little longer than we would think," Poloncarz said. "This just goes to show why we shouldn't be outsourcing so many different supplies, including medical supplies across the world. Because when you have a pandemic and the entire world is fighting for them, it makes it tough for you to get them, but we do have those coming."

Across the world, the masks, face shields, gloves and all of the rest of what is called personal protective equipment, or PPE, is considered essential to the safety of the healthcare workers fighting the COVID virus. They are in very short supply, with China mostly holding on to its own production with its own COVID crisis.

Credit Erie County