ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — The Allegan County Health Department is giving away free adult KN95 masks.
With the omicron variant keeping case numbers high, the health department is recommending upgrading your mask to a high filtration respirator, like a KN95 mask, in addition to getting vaccinated and boosted.
“These (KN95) masks are often quite thicker,” Lindsay Maunz, the public health planning and preparedness manager for the Allegan County Health Department, said. “They have more just layers and more filtration for protection, so that helps keep the respiratory particles from someone else that’s infected getting to you and you breathing that in, or vice-versa — if you happen to be infected and you don’t know it yet and you’re walking around, if you have this KN95 mask on, you’re providing your community a little bit more protection than a cloth mask.”
She said the masks are coming from the state’s “Mask Up, Mask Right” campaign aimed at encouraging people to wear masks and wear them correctly. She said Allegan County got its shipment Monday.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a scarcity of resources, especially around N95 masks, and so those were set aside and used for our health care workers that were in high-risk settings taking care of infected or positive cases. But now, that distribution and that supply chain has shifted and we have a lot more of these masks readily available for the people,” Maunz said.
The masks aren’t washable, so you can only wear them a couple times. Maunz said that once the mask gets wet or dirty, it’s time to throw it away.
Masks will be distributed curbside at the Allegan County Human Services Building at 3255 122nd Avenue on a first-come, first-served basis. Pickup times are Monday through Wednesday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Each person can get five masks.
The health department is looking for organizations to volunteer to redistribute the masks. Any organization that would like to sign up, can do so here. Masks will be available to pick up the next business day.
To find other Mask Up, Mask Right distribution sites around the state, click here or call the COVID-19 hotline at 888.535.6136.