Feds Seized 1M Masks Destined For South Florida Firefighters
They are in the epicenter of the South Florida crisis.
Miami-Dade County firefighters were stripped of one million N95 masks after the federal government seized the shipment last week. The masks were ordered to protect firefighters as they continue to do testing for homebound residents with COVID-19 symptoms. The county leads the state in confirmed cases.
“We were going to meet the plane and actually take them. That's like gold, you know. But we got the word from the company that they had been taken from the federal government,” the Director of Emergency Management for Miami-Dade County Frank Rollason said to WLRN.
The masks are ordered after the Miami-Dade fire department started doing at-home testing for individuals who were showing signs of COVID-19 ailments but were unable to go get tested.
According to the Florida Department of Health, Miami-Dade currently has 10,356 positive cases of COVID-19, making it the epicenter of the virus. Broward County is close behind with 4,315 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning.
"We thought we were in pretty good shape with having that amount coming in, but we were usurped," he continued to tell the reporter.
The FDOH has reported a total of 260 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in the county to date, out of a statewide total of 960.
This isn't the first time the federal government intervened on shipments of masks en route to state workers.
Back in early April, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker partnered with the New England Patriots in order to get N95 masks from China after three million were originally confiscated by the government, according to WCVB5.
The county has recently received a donation of 3D-printed PPE from FIU since the seizure.