Masks given to Madison County called into question

Madison County is getting a new shipment of 30,000 masks from the state after the state determined the original masks may not be as effective as promised.

Madison County Administrator Mark Scimone said he first learned of concerns about state-issued masks from a message from Monroe County.

He saw images of masks that didn’t meet KN95 standards and saw that the state had given Madison County the same ones.

“The ear loops on it are like really, really thin paper, like thin paper, and they seem to be made very cheaply,” Scimone said.

The New York State Department of Health released a statement stating, “The state has distributed millions of masks to districts for schools, libraries and other public facilities, a small portion — 5% — of which are the masks in question. Affected counties have been contacted and new masks are being shipped for immediate replacement.”

About 250,000 masks across the state have been called into question. Madison, Monroe, and Niagara counties were affected.

Madison County had distributed its 30,000 masks to schools, towns and villages. Scimone said the county has received calls from several affected superintendents. County officials plan to redistribute the new supply.

“Everyone’s busy, so it’s always difficult to get work on everyone’s plates,” Scimone said. “But we’re working well with the state, so we’re going to help and get those things out.”

Scimone said Madison County averages about 130 COVID-19 cases per day, which is slightly higher than this time last year.

He hopes the state will send more COVID-19 testing kits to the county in addition to the new masks. Madison County has received 3,100 kits for the 69,000-person county so far, and officials are hoping for another shipment this week.

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