"The issue is supply and demand, really. A lot of these masks are coming from out of the country, places like China and Taiwan ... The pandemic is what it is. People have just gone crazy over these masks."
LYNN HAVEN — Despite general information about the ineffectiveness of preventing the virus by wearing face masks, people are still scrambling to get their hands on masks in hopes of warding off the coronavirus.
Shelves have been bare for about a month at Adams Pharmacy on State Road 77, according to Ray Adams III, registered pharmacy technician at the family pharmacy.
"The issue is supply and demand, really," Adams said, noting even local face mask suppliers can’t keep up with local demand. "A lot of these masks are coming from out of the country, places like China and Taiwan ... The pandemic is what it is. People have just gone crazy over these masks.
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"The few times we have gotten masks in, I’ll have one individual come in and buy up just about all you got," Adams added, noting it’s mainly everyday customers that are buying up the masks
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which begun in Wuhan, China last year made its way to Florida last week. At a press conference Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced two cases in the state: a man in his 60s in Manatee County and a woman in her 20s in Hillsborough County. He said FDOH is currently monitoring 185 cases.
According to FDOH update webpage on COVID-19, a total of 23 people have been tested, with eight cases pending test results and 15 yielding negative testing results.
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And while state and federal health officials advise everyone to take the pandemic seriously, they are also educating the public on effective hygiene practices that help prevent the spread.
"Centers for Disease Control does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19," officials from Florida Department of Health in Bay County stated in an email Friday.
"Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)," officials wrote.
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Officials listed basic hygiene practices, such as, hand washing, avoiding contact with sick people, staying home when sick, and disinfecting objects and surfaces, as the best way to avoid exposure to the virus.
In the email, Bay County health officials did not confirm a number of patients tested or currently being monitored.
At a press conference Monday — just as all school districts throughout the state — Bay District Schools addressed its plans to deal with the pandemic.
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"We have no plans, at this time, to close any schools but are working closely with our trusted partners at the DOH, the CDC and Bay County Emergency Management," district officials stated in the press conference notice.
At the conference, officials announced the district is currently updating and revising its "long-standing Pandemic Plan already in place" to reflect new guidance from FDOH and CDC "regarding COVID-19 and any expected impact on local school systems."