First responders given wrong protective masks


OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) – West Virginia’s first responders have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic, but health officials say the masks given to help fight Coronavirus do not comply with national specifications.

Those masks will now be re-purposed to be given to facilities doing non-emergency work.

Ohio County EMA Director Lou Vargo said masks with ear loops instead of head bands often don’t have the proper fit for safety

The N95 masks are our highest level of protection for our first responders. So, those agencies, the police department, the sheriff’s department, the fire department, all emergency medical service agencies and at the hospitals. Those doctors, nurses, and technicians that are at the front line taking care of direct patients that are COVID positive have to have the highest level of protection.

The surgical mask, or the procedure mask that we refer to, that are not in emergency response and are providing services without direct patient contact, like serving meals, doing other types of procedures where there is not that direct patient contact in the health care facilities.

Lou Vargo, Ohio County EMA Director

It is up to the Emergency Managers throughout the state to put in a request every two weeks for what PPE their area needs.

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