Coronavirus: Mask orders lead to littered PPE in the Miami Valley

MIAMI VALLEY — There’s no masking a new problem the pandemic is bringing to the Miami Valley; littered personal protective equipment.

“Unfortunately it’s everywhere. You can go to any parking lot, supermarket, to any store and you’ll find it,” Dr. Roberto Colón, the associate chief medical officer for Miami Valley Hospital said.

In just over an hour, News Center 7′s Molly Koweek found five littered masks and one glove in downtown Dayton on Sunday. Other members of the News Center 7 team are also finding littered PPE.

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“We want to encourage people to wear them. We just want to make sure that people wear them and dispose of them properly,” Dr. Colón said.

He explained, the discarded PPE does not pose a big risk for virus spread.

“That’s not as big a concern as one would think,” Dr. Colón said.

However, he said the pollution poses a bigger threat to the environment.

“The last thing we want to do is, when we are all free to finally go on vacations again, and go out and about, go on a beach where we see a lot of this, littering our beaches, where we go to our lakes and find this at the edges of the water,” Dr. Colón said.

He said those looking to pick up masks they find on the ground, need to do so with caution. Dr. Colón suggested using gloves or another type of barrier to pick up the mask. Then, people need to wash their hands.