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Message from Maine to Massachusetts yields much-needed medical supplies

N95 particulate respirator masks.Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Two Massachusetts state senators have found a new source of much-needed protective gear and other medical supplies — all thanks to a message from Maine.

State Senator Cynthia Creem of Newton, a member of a six-person Senate working group set up to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, said she received an e-mail earlier in the week from a former Maine legislator who said she is now a broker for medical supply companies that could sell personal protective equipment that is running in short supply in the state.

Creem’s office shared the e-mail with state Senator Bruce E. Tarr, a Republican from Gloucester, who is working on supply issues. He was able to connect with the e-mail author, Diane Russell, a former Maine state representative. The result: Massachusetts was able to buy close to 1 million N95 respirators, the coveted tight-fitting face masks that filter out 95 percent of airborne particles and are key protection for front-line medical workers.


The contact has been shared with state firefighters and some community hospitals also seeking supplies, who’ve now been able to order equipment and rapid test kits, said Creem.

“It turned out to be really good,” said Creem.

Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.