Local store owners say medical supplies in high demand amid coronavirus concerns
BATON ROUGE - Though there are no confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, many residents are preparing for the inevitable.
"I think it's overblown," said Todd McCarty, who was shopping at Walmart. "I was a paramedic at one time, and I think there's more danger in the flu than there is in this coronavirus."
His opinion, however, doesn't reflect what it looks like inside certain stores.
"I noticed that it seems that people are kind of going crazy buying bleach. There wasn't a lot on the shelves," he said.
The Walmart on College Drive is completely out of hand sanitizer, low on soap and bleach, and some canned goods. The most common missing items across stores are the medical masks.
Every Home Depot and Lowe's in the Baton Rouge area is out of painting masks and employees do not know when they will be getting more since their supply comes from China.
On Monday, the governor advised against the purchasing of masks, saying its more effective to wash your hands.
"We've had a run on masks, surgical masks, and by the way the surgeon general of the U.S. and our own office of public health has said you're not going to do yourself any good by going out and getting the masks," Governor John Bel Edwards said.
If you are still interested in obtaining masks, your best bet is smaller, local shops. Goodwood Hardware has been out of stock for a while but just got some in stock Tuesday.
"Well people have been calling about them for the past couple weeks, and we've been out, our venders have been out. So we finally got some in today," Eric Fitter said.
Fitter says they only have a few dozen masks as of Tuesday, however, the store is expecting another shipment to arrive next week.
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