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Shortage of medical face masks at pharmacies

Many pharmacies are running out of medical face masks because of the fear surrounding the coronavirus.

WINSLOW, Maine — Winslow Pharmacy is completely out of medical face masks.

"This is something we've always had in stock and has never been an issue," Christopher Nalepa, a pharmacist at Winslow Pharmacy

The pharmacy said the item is sold out because of the fear of the coronavirus.

"Back ordered long-term with no ETA on when they'll be released," Nalepa said. 

They aren't the only pharmacy. Walgreens said they've also seen a greater demand for the masks. This comes after the Centers for Disease Control warned the coronavirus could create severe disruptions in the United States.

But the Maine CDC director said the masks probably won't protect you and they don't recommend them.

"Masks have a place, but they are really for individuals that are experiencing symptoms for when they go to a hospital. The purpose of the mask is really to prevent someone who is not feeling well from spreading the disease to other people mainly health care workers. For someone who's walking around their neighborhood, a mask doesn't do anything to reduce their risk," said Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah.

Both the CDC and the pharmacy said the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands and don't touch your face.

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