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State about to forfeit 1.5M N-95 masks

Apr 03, 2020 9:15 am
Chris Bragg is reporting for the Times Union New York state is about to miss a payment deadline and forfeit the purchase of 1.5 million N-95 respirator masks, according to the firm managing the deal. Halfmoon-based craft supply retailer Darn Good Yarn has relationships with suppliers in China that have access to the masks used to help protect medical personnel and others against airborne droplets from sneezes or coughs. The specialized masks are in short supply. The Chinese suppliers involved in the mask deal require up-front payment. At 3 p.m., Fri., Apr. 3, the company's opportunity to buy any of the masks from the Chinese suppliers for approximately $4 each will end, according to Nicole Snow, the founder and CEO of Darn Good Yarn. It is unclear why the state has not come up with the $6 million needed over the past week. "New York state takes its responsibility to procure personal protective gear extremely seriously, and is vetting all possible avenues to secure products that are viable, available, and cost appropriate," said Heather Groll, a spokeswoman for the state Office of General Services. "Darn Good Yarn’s offer is under consideration." Snow said the Cuomo administration committed to buying the masks a week ago and went so far as to work out the delivery details, but so far the state has failed to come up with the needed funds. Snow said the market for protective medical equipment is drying up and it will be difficult for the state to otherwise obtain the masks if this opportunity is lost. Read the full story in the Times Union.