Front line health care workers plead for N95 masks

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - There's still a dire need for personal protective equipment nationally, specifically the N95 masks.

In Upper Michigan, doctors, nurses and EMTs are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Surgeon, Frank Farbod, DMD from the Facial Surgery Institute.

"That’s because we can exposed to aerosolized particles that go into the air based on the procedures that we do. In our office, we are seeing a lot of the emergency patients to ensure that we do not overwhelm the ER and hospitals as we're probably going to see the spike in about three to four weeks,” Dr. Farbod asserted.

In addition, because China produces 50% of the masks worldwide, local health care workers are now seeing a disruption in the supply chain.

Dr. Farbod says members of the general public and non-essential workers are panicking and stockpiling these masks, leading to an even more dramatic shortage.

Front line health care workers like Dr. Farbod are asking anyone with a stockpile of N95 masks to please donate them to their local hospital.

"Anybody that has personal protective equipment, specifically the N95 masks to donate them to your local hospitals that need them and people who are on the front line. And try not to go to Lowe's or Menards to buy them up. They are not needed for the general public or if you are a non-essential healthcare worker. More importantly to urge our politicians to shed some light on this issue,”

Dr. Farbod added that if front line health care workers are infected with COVID-19, the medical field could be overwhelmed.

He says it’s important for everyone to adhere to Governor Whitmer’s orders and to please leave those N95 masks for the professionals

"Try to no panic and as they become available, leave them be so that people that are in need can use them. In reality that's going to help stall the spread of the virus. That's the most important thing. Stay home and remain calm,” Dr. Farbod stated.

Dr. Farbod also agrees, moving the manufacture of these masks and medical PPE domestically would be wise.

"Hopefully there won't be a next time. But if there is a next time, if we can manufacture these at home, I think we're going to run into a lot less problems," Dr. Farbod concluded.