Coronavirus response: ‘Get me those N95 and KN95 masks,’ Springfield’s mayor says to state officials as city’s supply to first responders dwindles

Domenic J. Sarno says now is the time for his “Andrew Cuomo moment.”

The mayor of Springfield drew upon the governor of New York Wednesday, who has received national attention for using forceful language in demanding a stronger response to the surge in coronavirus cases in New York.

The focus of Sarno’s ire Wednesday is federal and state officials and their slow response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“I’m demanding from MEMA: Get me those N95 and KN95 masks. You have them. We need them,” Sarno said during a press conference on Wednesday. “I’m putting everybody on notice right now.”

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As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to rise both in Massachusetts and nationwide, the mayor said first responders in the city are “burning through” their dwindling supplies of face masks which the city is struggling to replace.

“There should be no reason why governors and mayors are cannibalizing each other to get the appropriate supplies and materials,” Sarno said.

The city placed an order for more face masks with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency weeks ago, an order Sarno said Wednesday was denied.

The city had requested N95 and KN95 mask from state and federal emergency response officials. Sarno said as his request was to supply the masks for police and fire departments, it was denied.

“Who the hell do they think – who do you think are responding to these calls?” the impassioned mayor said Wednesday, of responding to 911 calls. “It’s police and fire.”

The Springfield Police Department reports more than three dozen members of the department were unable to work due to the ongoing health crisis.

“Today, I’m down 26,” Sarno said Wednesday.

A growing number of officers have tested positive for COVID-19, Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. As of Wednesday, 14 officers have tested positive. Additional officers are awaiting results of their tests.

The Springfield Fire Department is down seven firefighters as of Wednesday, the city said.

As of Wednesday, 285 confirmed cases have been reported in Springfield, including multiple coronavirus-related deaths. City health Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said she fears hundreds of more cases due to community spread.

“Our officers, our firefighters are out there everyday with community spread,” she said. “We need them to be protected.”

The mayor said he was thrilled to see Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker coordinated with the Kraft family, owners of the New England Patriots, to use the team plane to bring a shipment of 1.2 million face masks from China.

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