As coronavirus spreads, surgical masks run short in Birmingham area


VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. (WIAT) — Kathy Jones and her staff at Family Medical Supply in Vestavia Hills count the number of people waiting on the list for medical masks and anticipates more people asking for the product that’s currently unavailable.

“We’re getting a lot of calls for the N95 masks and that is the masks that everybody has recommended for the coronavirus,” Jones said.

Jones says she sold out of the masks weeks ago, while manufactures say they won’t be able to fill a growing stack of orders for weeks. All of this while the public grapples with the viral outbreak.

Jones showed CBS 42 Reporter Cory McGinnis one of the popular face masks requested by customers.

“This is the N95, and it’s made by 3m but now these are also made by other companies as well,” she said

Wesley Willeford, medical director of disease control of Jefferson County Department of Health, said that at this point, there’s no recommendation from the CDC to get masks and that the masks should be used in a hospital setting.

“Typically if you’re passing someone, that’s not enough to worry about coming directly in contact with this,” Willeford said.

Willeford encourages people to instead :

  • to wash their hands
  • to get the flu shot
  • have plans for what to do in case the Coronavirus hits close to home


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