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Free N95 masks on the way

Precise details still being worked out
Posted at 7:23 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 21:23:20-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Free, high quality masks, and free at-home COVID tests. They are part of the Federal Government’s plan to help fight the latest wave of the COVID pandemic. But plans to get the masks in your hands and on your face are still being worked out.

The Omicron strain is spreading so fast the Government is making it easier for you to step up and do your bit; with free at-home COVID tests you’re able to order through the website COVIDTests.gov. Now they’re also making it free to upgrade your masks.

Health experts say when it comes to COVID, any mask that covers your nose and mouth is better than no mask, but an N95 is the best at keeping you from catching the virus. They also cost more than more basic masks and can be harder to find.

Now to encourage masking up with the best mask around, the Federal Government will give you three N95s for free. It’s ready to share 400 million N95s from the government’s strategic reserves now that there’s a better supply of the masks for health professionals.

You’ll pick up the masks from pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens. There will be plenty of sites to choose from. There are 48 Walgreens in Pima County and 29 CVS.

Federally recognized Community Health Centers like El Rio Health will distribute the N95s too but the mask program is so new, distribution points are still waiting for details from the Government so they can make their plans on how to give out the masks.

Ocie Wilson, the Chief Pharmacist at El Rio Community Health Center says El Rio will also teach patients how to make sure the mask has the precise fit required to give you top protection.

“We'll take the time to do that and not sure what the packaging is gonna look like. But we're also hoping that you'll get some more information on the package as well.”

And because fit is important, a mask made for an adult may not work well for a child. Because the first of the free masks are coming from stockpiles made for adult workers they will be adult masks. The government says child-sized masks will be coming later.

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