Excerpts from the NewHavenRegister:

The fire chief in North Branford was alarmed when he got the news that his department, which runs the town’s ambulance service, would only receive one box of 35 respirators from the strategic national stockpile. What’s more, all of those masks are expired.  Although the town currently has enough supplies on hand, he worries about what will happen if COVID-19 cases spike a few weeks down the road.

Two nearby East Haven firefighters and their families were quarantined for two weeks Friday after the firefighters assisted a 79-year-old man who became the town’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. The East Haven fire chief is worried that if too many members of his department get sidelined because of exposure, they won’t be able to fight fires. He was told that all of the 144,000 respirators in the state’s strategic stockpile are expired by at least 10 years, adding that his department was allotted 220 respirators. They were all expired, and they were all sized small.

What’s more, medical experts today expanded the possible symptoms associated with COVID-19 so as to include certain gastrointestinal issues. That means personal protective equipment may be necessary for more calls.

A memorandum from the strategic national stockpile coordinator for the Connecticut Department of Public Health indicates that in terms of personal protective equipment, many towns in the state are only receiving expired respirators at this time.

“The Department of Public Health (DPH) is in possession of expired N95 respirators manufactured in 2006 that were not granted a shelf-life extension by the federal government,” the memo says. “We requested that the federal government consider an extension given the national PPE shortage, which was not granted. These expired Kimberly Clarke N95 respirators will not provide the appropriate protection factor of non-expired N95s, but are likely to minimally provide protection equivalent to a surgical face mask.”

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