The masks are not the much-discussed N95 respirators touted as the standard for protection against the new coronavirus and COVID-19.

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DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — As the number of positive tests for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increases across Walton County, some emergency services personnel are getting access to protective masks, as a protection against contracting the illness, according to Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson.

The masks are not the much-discussed N95 respirators touted as the standard for protection against the new coronavirus and COVID-19.

However, they do provide heightened protection, according to Sandra Bailon, a customer service representative at Professional Products, the DeFuniak Springs-based medical supply company providing the masks at no charge to local first responders working in the community.

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In addition, the masks, produced under the company trade name Ezy Wraps, are being provided to Professional Products employees and their families, Bailon said.

The masks, infused with an anti-microbial solution, are washable and reusable, and the company is working to get them to market.

As of Thursday morning, there were 13 positive COVID-19 cases in Walton County.

In recent days, six Walton County deputies have been in 14-day self-quarantine in connection with suspected exposure to COVID-19, according to Adkinson.

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According to Walton County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Corey Dobridnia, all six deputies are back at work, but one of those deputies’ next shift does not start until Monday. It is routine for supervisors to check on deputies’ health on a daily basis, Dobridnia said.

In the meantime, deputies are using the Ezy Wrap-provided masks in interactions with people known to have COVID-19, or suspected to have been exposed to the virus.

Deputies are using an abundance of caution in light of COVID-19, Adkinson said, but they recognize that close physical contact can sometimes be a part of their work.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got a job to do,” Adkinson said.

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