Federal government confiscates face masks meant for Florida firefighters

( Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images )

A shipment of 1 million face masks en route to South Florida for firefighters was confiscated last week by the federal government, Miami-Dade's top emergency management official said.

Frank Rollason, the director of emergency management for Miami-Dade County, told WLRN on Wednesday that the N95 masks were for firefighters who planned to begin at-home new coronavirus testing for homebound Miami-Dade residents who can't make it to drive-thru testing sites.

“We thought we were in pretty good shape with having that amount coming in, and they were — we were — usurped," Rollason said.

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Miami-Dade has the largest number of confirmed cases in Florida, with almost 10,300 as of Thursday morning. Statewide, there are more than 28,500 confirmed cases.

WLRN reports that other shipments of masks meant for municipalities also have been confiscated by the federal government. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said previously that bringing too much personal protective equipment into coronavirus hotspots can have the “unintended consequence” of disrupting supply chains deliveries to other areas of the country.

Miami-Dade fire officials are now acquiring masks in smaller shipments.

″(It’s) certainly not as efficiently as we would like this process to be, but nonetheless, successful thus far to meet the needs of our operation for now,” Chief Greg Rubin, an assistant fire chief, said in a statement.

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