Central Maine Power Co. will donate 6,000 protective masks to the Maine Emergency Management Agency in an effort to supply the state’s health care workers and first responders with the protection they will need to treat patients with the coronavirus.

The electric utility announced the donation Sunday night, promising to deliver the masks Monday morning to MEMA’s offices in Augusta.

The donation includes 3,000 surgical masks and 3,000 N95 respirators, according to CMP.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines a surgical mask as a loose-fitting, disposable mask that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer. An N95 mask is a respiratory protective device that achieves a much closer facial fit than a surgical mask and offers a greater degree of protection from airborne particles.

David Flanagan Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

“CMP has worked with other AVANGRID companies in implementing crisis plans, and in taking stock of inventory over the last few weeks, we determined that our companies had protective masks in storage that could be used by healthcare workers and other first responders,” David Flanagan, executive chairman of CMP, said in a statement. “Given the growing shortage of masks and other protective gear faced by medical facilities across Maine, we have an opportunity and an obligation to help.”

Like many other states, Maine is experiencing both a backlog of tests for COVID-19 and a potential shortage of the personal protective equipment – such as masks, gloves and surgical gowns – that are needed by health care workers.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has said repeatedly that the state continues to press the federal government to release more supplies, especially those items that are critical in order for health care workers to do their jobs.

MEMA Director Peter Rogers thanked the company for its generosity.

“We are grateful for CMP’s donation of these critical safety masks,” Rogers said in a statement. “These masks will support the State of Maine in its mission to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

In addition to donating masks, CMP workers have begun inspecting the reliability of the electric system that provides energy to hospitals, nursing homes, food and critical distribution warehouses as well as other critical facilities that rely on power during the pandemic. CMP personnel have been inspecting circuits that supply electricity to those facilities and have been trimming hazardous trees that might contribute to a disruption in electrical service.

Last week, CMP’s parent company, AVANGRID and its charitable nonprofit affiliate, the Avangrid Foundation, announced it will donate $2 million to support coronavirus relief and recovery to support national and local organizations that support vulnerable communities.

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