PHOENIX - A valley anesthesiologist is asking the public to donate N95 masks as COVID-19 cases rise in Arizona.
The mask is notably the most important tool for physicians and nurses during this pandemic.
Valley Anesthesiology is a large medical group securing personal protective equipment (PPE) and is now in a major shortage of the N95 masks.
An anesthesiologist with the group says a surge of patients in Phoenix is expected by April 26th.
“This has become the gold standard, this is an N95. It’s preformed to the shape of your face and it’s held with these elastic bands so this forms a seal and then it proceeds to filter out 95 percent,” explains Scott Sher, regional director of Valley Anesthesiology.
He says this mask has become so difficult to obtain, especially with fraudulent sales on the internet.
“This mask should cost $1.50, you can find it on the internet for $600 and they’re selling quantities like ten, twenty thirty thousand [dollars] at a time,” he said.
Sher says doctors and nurses are supposed to wear one N95 mask per patient but not anymore due to the widespread coronavirus and mask shortage.
“Globally that policy has been abandoned then the masks were used for an entire day,” he said.
Some medical professionals are wearing one mask all week, he said.
Now, Sher reached out to Honeywell for help. The company is adding 500 jobs in Phoenix to produce N95 masks and PPE. Honeywell’s mask production could increase to more than 20 million per month according to officials.
Sher says his group works with dozens of Arizona hospitals and the masks will be needed more than ever very soon.
“If we could receive a shipment of five to ten thousand, we could probably get through the entire crisis,” he said.
So far about 90 N95 masks have been donated, and Sher expects to get 30 more on Monday.
Contact Valley Anesthesiology to help at http://www.valley.md/