As Johnson County continues to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are now seeking donated cloth masks. At the guidance of the CDC, these would serve as a last resort, if surgical (disposable) masks are unavailable.
There is a nationwide mask shortage. Johnson County MED-ACT has had both surgical masks (disposables) and N95 masks on back order for months and continues to request masks from different sources. The county continues to utilize its supply of surgical and N95 masks, however, contingency planning is necessary, should the county be unable to acquire the proper disposable masks.
In addition to surgical masks, Johnson County medics have powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs) that they use when known or suspected COVID-19 patients are being assessed, treated and transported. These are considered a higher level of personal protection. To conserve the limited PAPR supply, they are reserved for higher risk patients.
The cloth masks would only be used to replace surgical (disposable) masks should the need arise due to depletion of inventory of surgical masks. The county has reviewed the CDC’s guidance on homemade masks for care of patients with COVID-19, as a last resort. The county hopes it will not need to use the cloth masks, however a cloth mask is better than no mask at all when it comes to protecting patients and responders.
We want to thank our community members for the outpouring of support on the mask project. Should the masks not be used during this time, they will be donated for other uses.
The CDC’s strategy about use of homemade masks as a last resort is also reiterated in KDHE Guidance.
Cloth masks for donation tips:
You can drop off masks at 205 E. Flaming Rd., Olathe, the Johnson County MED-ACT station. Donations will be accepted in a basket from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.