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Masks given to Madison County called into question

MIKI Yoshihito

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

Madison County Administrator Mark Scimone said he first found out about concerns with the state-issued masks from a news story from Monroe County.

He saw pictures of masks that did not meet the KN95 standards and saw the state had given Madison County the same ones.

"The ear loops on them are like really, really thin paper, like a thin paper, and they seem very cheaply made," said Scimone.

The New York State Department of Health released a statement saying, “The State has distributed millions of masks to counties for schools, libraries and other public facilities, a small portion of which - 5% - are the masks in question. Impacted counties have been contacted and new masks will be shipped out for immediate replacement.”

About 250,000 masks across the state were 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 received phone calls from several concerned superintendents. County officials plan to redistribute the new shipment.

"Everybody's busy, so adding work to everybody's plate is always difficult,” said Scimone. “But we work well with the state, so we'll help out and get these things out."

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

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

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.