A Butler County company has donated 65,000 respiration masks to assist health care providers amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Cranberry Township-based MSA Safety joined with Allegheny Health Network and its parent company Highmark Health to secure the N-95 protective masks.
“While disposable N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment used by health care professionals in pandemic situations are not manufactured by MSA,” the company said in a news release Saturday, “we have donated our complete allotment of available N-95 respirators (sourced from a third-party supplier) to the local Pittsburgh medical community.”
In its own news release Sunday, Highmark Health and AHN said officials would “collaborate with a group of chief medical officers at other local hospitals to develop a distribution strategy for the masks.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month announced it planned to buy 500 million N-95 respirators over the next 18 months for the Strategic National Stockpile.
The stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.
The N-95 masks are respiratory protective devices designed to achieve a tight facial fit and efficient filtration of airborne particles. The “N-95” classification means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small test particles.
“MSA recognizes the critical importance of personal protective equipment as we work together with health care providers in their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said MSA Safety spokesman Mark Deasy.
Those masks, which remain in short supply, are considered critical equipment for health care providers in responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Personal protective equipment, such as N-95 masks, are essential to protecting health care providers on the front lines of this public health crisis,” said Dr. Donald Whiting, AHN’s chief medical officer. “We are extremely grateful to MSA Safety for stepping up to help us meet this challenge, and look forward to making sure the equipment is distributed in a manner that best serves the community’s needs.”