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Monroe County seeks replacements for thousands of KN95 masks distributed to local residents

KN95 mask from New York state
Photo provided by Monroe County
One of the KN95 masks Monroe County received from New York state, which the state is now trying to replace.

Monroe County officials say that they are working on getting replacements for more than half of the KN95 face masks that were obtained by New York state and recently distributed by the county.

They were distributed to essential workers and first responders.

The county issued a statement on Tuesday saying that they became aware of concerns about the quality of some of the masks, and brought those concerns to the attention of state officials, and the state is now seeking replacement masks.

County officials say as soon as they get the additional masks, they will work to replace them for local residents who were not able to use them.

label from KN95 mask Monroe County received from New York state
Photo provided by Monroe County
A label from one of the KN95 masks Monroe County received from New York state which they are seeking to replace.

Monroe County officials also say that while some people may not feel these masks provide KN95 protection, residents are advised they may continue to use them if they do not have access to higher-quality masks.

The masks in question were manufactured by Yixian Songlin Bioengineering Co. and were provided in clear plastic packs containing 25 units each.

These masks comprised 180,000 units of the 337,620 KN95 masks provided to Monroe County by the state.

A spokeswoman for the NYS Health Dept. said that the state has provided tens of thousands of masks to counties to provide to teachers and schools as New York combats the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erin Silk said that impacted counties have been contacted and asked to pull the masks in question and new masks will be shipped out for immediate replacement.

Also, the Department of Health and the Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services are conducting an internal review of masks currently in storage.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.