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State sends PPE...from Wuhan?


SALYERSVILLE – While personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a very needed and sought-after commodity, a recent shipment of masks to the health department raised more questions than answers.

Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd told the Independent they recently received a shipment of 5,000 masks from the state’s PPE distribution center to give to medical providers and government offices as needed, but one box surprised him.

“These are pretty good masks, really, but I saw some Chinese writing on the side of the box and started checking them out,” Shepherd said. “They had put the ‘ship to’ labels on top of other labels, so most of them were covered up, but one clearly shows these came from Wuhan, China.”

In December 2019, Wuhan was the first place the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in the world, which has since been labeled as a global pandemic and is specifically why the health department is distributing the masks locally.

“It’s pretty amazing they would send us that stuff,” Shepherd said. "It’s kind of funny. Frankfort earmarked us by our population and sent us these masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE, but it shocked me that it would come from Wuhan.”

Shepherd noted that the masks were very good quality and had a production date of April 2020 and expiration date of April 2022, specifically stating “MADE IN PRC” on the side and including an address in Wuhan, the People’s Republic of China, on the shipping label. 

“These came about a month ago, which was during a time when we couldn’t get anything,” Shepherd said. 

While the label raised some concerns, he noted that masks from the box have been distributed locally and no cases linked to any masks have been reported.


Heather Oney

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