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1,000 masks disappear from WMC overnight; hospital unsure what happened
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1,000 masks disappear from WMC overnight; hospital unsure what happened

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Hand Sewn Medical Mask

Loretta Miller of Mountain View Baptist Church in Mills holds up a hand-sewn mask on March 25 in Mills. Miller is working with local seamstresses to make masks and medical gowns based on specifications to meet the safety requirements for health care providers.

More than 1,000 cloth masks disappeared from Wyoming Medical Center sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the hospital said Wednesday.

“We hope to find the missing masks in the next few days, but in the meantime, keep those donations coming,” the hospital said in a statement.

It’s unclear what happened to the masks, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday, including whether they were stolen. They went missing from the hospital’s laundry department.

“We don’t know what happened to them but we are working hard to get them replaced,” WMC spokesman Kristy Bleizeffer said.

Masks and other protective gear have become a hot commodity over the past month as providers burn through them treating coronavirus patients and supplies begin to run low. Casper residents have donated masks — handmade or procured previously by contractors for their own use — to help offset any shortage.

In daily press briefings and interviews in recent weeks, county officials have described the shortage of the equipment — masks, gowns and eye protection — as critical and desperate. Gov. Mark Gordon said late last week that equipment shipments intended for Wyoming were diverted to other hot spots elsewhere.

Last month, two men attempted to steal masks and toilet paper from the hospital in Converse County.

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Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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"Wyoming, we have a tendency to just kind of pooh-pooh things and blow it off," the head of the state's hospital association said, "but this thing’s here, it’s at our doorsteps, and we can control our own destiny if we do the right thing."

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