Recommended masks hard to find in Omaha

Local pharmacist also warns to beware of counterfeit masks
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:55 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - As Omaha moves into its first day of the mask mandate, the CDC is considering recommending that people upgrade their masks to the N95 or KN95 model to help fight the more contagious omicron variant.

But finding those sorts of face coverings can be difficult, as 6 News found Wednesday.

You can find some of the face masks that most have been using throughout the pandemic, but trying to improve on your face covering with an N95 or KN95 mask can be hard to do.

“They are really hard to find right now,” said Johnny Taylor with Kubat’s Pharmacy. “The problem we’re running into right now in the pharmacy setting is that our suppliers are getting them through 3M or wherever the manufacturer is, but they have purchasing restrictions. They’re trying to save the N95 masks for people that have direct patient access.”

With the Omaha mask mandate in effect, finding more effective face coverings was one of the topics of discussion at Corky Boards Wine and Sign Studio in Midtown. Amanda Loomis beat the rush and purchased N95 facemasks back in November.

“I have two boxes that I’ve had for a while because I’ve been traveling,” she said. “A lot of PPE, personal protective equipment, since this pandemic has started — the prices have skyrocketed. So in addition to the supply issues that we’re facing, everything is quite a bit more expensive.”

Officials also warn that there are a lot of counterfeit masks out there.

Taylor is the compliance officer for the compounding pharmacy at Kubat’s and does the ordering for the department.

“On every approved N95 mask, it’ll have the N 95 logo. It will have a certain serial number on it, and also the testing controls that it went through to be approved,” he said. “It’ll say NIOSH so it’s NIOSH approved.”

Taylor said many people have called the pharmacy looking for N95 face coverings, and there are many more still looking for more effective facemasks.

“You would think that with the pandemic that it would be more available to everyone,” he said.

If you can’t find or afford an N95 or KN95 mask, the CDC recommends wearing two masks, or double-masking, to substantially reduce your exposure to COVID-19, particularly with the pervasive omicron variant moving into the community.

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