LOS ANGELES - We've all heard about the high demand for masks-- especially for first responders, doctors, and nurses.
So we were surprised to hear that thousands of masks were sitting for days just waiting to be delivered-- caught in a red tape mess here in Southern California. That is until FOX 11 stepped in and started asking questions.
20,000 of them... donated to pulmonary specialist Dr. Asif Mahmood from Huntington Memorial Hospital. They were sitting in 40 boxes, part of a shipment of FDA approved medical supplies from China, imported by a medical company that wanted to remain anonymous, as donors of the much needed N-95 respirator masks so needed by first responders.
They arrived at the end of March, but by April 9th, the company was still waiting to pick them up.
"Getting the run around from FDA and CDC” says Dr. Mahmood, visibly anxious about the delays.
“Why are we waiting for much needed, life saving materials at this time”. We asked the question, tracking down the boxes to Ontario airport, where they were sitting in Customs.
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Our story shows you the process of what happened to get them out of there.
It seems that with last week’s FDA approval of Chinese made marks similar to the N-95’s, and the ongoing changes and last minute approval of coronavirus related medical import shipments, custom inspectors have been overwhelmed. There was a backlog of thousands of KN95’s they had to get through, after the FDA approved their import - and these 40 boxes got caught up in that.
With the help of UPS employees, we were able to find the shipment, and on Good Friday, it started going through customs and into the UPS trucks that will deliver them to their distribution center in the San Gabriel Valley.
FOX 11 contacted the donors and Dr Mahmoud, telling them UPS officials confirm it will be there Monday. The masks will go to first responders at Huntington Memorial and several clinics.