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Doctors having trouble finding face masks for coronavirus

Physician worries emergency rooms will be overwhelmed.

AKRON, Ohio — A local doctor is concerned that physicians may not be as ready as they should be when it comes to coronavirus.

Dr. Cynthia Weinstein has been running a family medical practice in Akron for decades but is beginning to feel side effects from being independent.

“I’m not sure we’re getting enough information or support to be able to take care of those patients once they start to present,” she said.

Her big concern is getting N95 masks, which are recommended by the CDC for healthcare workers, but currently unavailable to her.

The problem lies in demand. Whereas larger hospitals are at the front of the line, her supplier is not.

For now, Dr. Weinstein’s staff will be screening patients over the phone, turning away any who may be suspected of having coronavirus.

“We would have to send them to an emergency room,” she said. “I think as we get more and more cases, then that would overwhelm the emergency rooms.”

Mask manufacturers have stepped up production, while on social media people are posting photos in masks.

Health experts say it sends the wrong message, with the U.S. Surgeon General tweeting they are not effective for general prevention and should only be reserved for health care providers and those who are sick.

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