Health center hands out 45,000 masks to local groups

Staff of the Community Health Center in Cowley County unload ‘America Strong’ cloth face coverings Tuesday morning in Winfield. Pictured from left: Brady Dutton, chief financial officer; Melody Vaden, chief operating officer; and Kimela Woods, administrative specialist.

Under the “Project: America Strong” program to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Community Health Center in Cowley County placed an order in June, and on Tuesday received 10,000 packets (five masks per packet) of cloth face coverings for the community.

The program was created through partnership between the U.S., Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Postal Service, and the National Council of Textile Organizations.

The health center plans to provide 1,000 face covering packets to patients. The remaining 9,000 packets were distributed Tuesday to local community-based organizations including public schools, libraries, local government, chambers of commerce and family resource centers.

The America Strong program requires these packets be provided free of charge. Participating community-based organizations have been asked to distribute packets at their discretion as soon as possible.

Wearing a cloth face covering, in combination with other everyday preventive actions such as social or physical distancing and washing hands, are good practices that help protect from COVID-19.

The use of cloth face coverings will also help to keep local businesses open.

More information about the Face Covers from the Department of Health and Human Services:

• These masks should not replace medical-grade personal protective equipment such as N-95 respirator masks, and should not be considered an N-95 substitute. They are a source control mechanism only.

• Fabric is 100 percent cotton, white in color and loops over the ears.

• Fabric has been treated with a silver and copper solution reported to have some antimicrobial properties.

• There are five face coverings per package.

• Covers may be machine washed warm up to 15 times before discarding. Tumble dried on high. Bleach, chemicals or disinfectant must not be used to wash this product.

• If skin irritation occurs, users should immediately stop wearing the face covering. If irritation persists, users should consult their primary care provider.

• Users should be mindful when wearing this product if they have lung disease, such as emphysema, or chronic heart disease. Users should stop wearing this product if they notice difficulty breathing while wearing it.

• Face Cover Frequently Asked Questions may be found at www.phe.gov/facecovering/Pages/faq.aspx.

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