Dane Co. to distribute 100,000 KN95 masks in coming days

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 10:13 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane Co. officials plan to start distributing tens of thousands of new, safer KN95 masks to county residents to help protect them from the spread of COVID-19.

The county recently received 100,000 masks to distribute among community organizations which will be tasked with distributing them to families over the next several days.

The shipment comes as the county continues slogging through some of the worst days local health officials have reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Caused in part by the arrival of the more contagious Omicron variant, Public Health Madison & Dane Co. has recorded a seven-day rolling average for new cases that more than trebles what it was at the beginning of 2022.

In announcing the masks’ arrival, Co. Executive Joe Parisi noted the high numbers of hospitalizations in Dane Co., which previously prompted hospitals to issue their own pleas that people take COVID-19 precautions and get vaccinated. He explained that the effects of so many people being admitted into local hospitals extends beyond those who have tested positive for the virus, as COVID-19 patients take time and resources from doctors and nurses’ ability to treat other patients.

“With record high counts in our hospitals, it’s imperative we do all we can to try and stunt the rapid spread of this variant,” Parisi said.

The county explained that the KN95 masks will fit better than typical cloth masks and are more effective against the new variant. Parisi noted that not all families are able to get these safer masks on their own, leading to the county’s efforts.

The money for the masks came from the county’s coffers and distribution will be led by PHMDC and the Depts. Of Emergency Management and Human Services to work with the community organizations to get them into families’ hands.

Earlier in the day, the Biden administration announced it will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week. The White House explained the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand, and will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country.

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