Why not Root? Other communities in Wisconsin have distributed thousands of N95 masks | Local News


Kenosha County is distributing 440,000 N95 masks.

In a week earlier this month, Milwaukee distributed 1 million masks.

Likewise, Madison and Dane County distributed hundreds of thousands of masks this month, believed to be exponentially more effective at preventing the spread of disease than surgical and cloth masks.

Racine County was unable to do so. The allocation of masks the city and county received from the state was only enough to ensure there are enough for first responders, not for the rest of the public.

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This week, the City of Racine Public Health Department requested KN95 masks from the state. His request was denied.


However, “it was not the intention of the (city of Racine) public health department to distribute N95 or KN95 masks in large quantities,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the public health administrator for the city, in an email Friday. “The concern is with the continued increase in COVID-19 cases, the accessibility of community partners such as healthcare, first responders and assisted living facilities/care facilities to secure face masks for their staff.”

Andrew Goetz, Racine County Communications Director


Similarly, “Racine County Emergency Management has received approximately 32,000 N95 masks which are being distributed to local law enforcement, fire and health care personnel,” county spokesman Andrew Goetz said. from Racine, in an e-mail.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services did not provide an answer Friday or Saturday as to why Madison, Milwaukee and Kenosha were chosen for the biggest awards. “We expect to share more information about masks and distribution next week,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement Friday.

One of the problems with the mass distribution of N95 masks is that, unlike cloth and surgical masks, there is no one size fits all, Bowersox noted.

The town of Racine did not disclose how many surgical masks it would receive from the state this week, but said it learned Friday that its last full request for masks “would not be met” by the state. State. The City of Racine Public Health Department “has ordered quantities to address potential healthcare, first responder and PHD shortages,” Bowersox said. “Since early last year, the City PHD has provided each fire station with surgical masks to distribute to the public. They still have a good supply available.

Bowersox continued, “Surgical-grade face masks have been available at Racine City Fire Stations for over a year, where anyone can walk in and receive up to five free masks.”

Free Covid tests at home? Free N95 masks? Here’s the latest on the Biden administration’s efforts to quell the threat of Covid-19. Millions are being made available and the CDC is changing guidelines on what to wear.

What changed?

Research has increasingly shown that cloth masks, while still preferable to unmasking in terms of preventing the spread of infection, are inferior to surgical masks and N95 masks in spreading the virus.

“Our main message continues to be that any mask is better than no mask,” Kristen Nordlund, spokeswoman for the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement.

Health experts suggest boosting protection against the highly contagious omicron variant with stronger masks such as N95s or KN95s.

Previously, the CDC said N95 masks should be reserved for healthcare workers due to supply shortages.

N95s fit closer to your face than fabrics and are designed to block 95% of harmful particles. The fibers are pressed closer together than in cloth masks and have an electrostatic charge that attracts molecules to stick to the mask rather than through it. KN95s offer a similar level of protection.

According to Linsey Marr, who studies viruses at Virginia Tech, that’s especially important now that healthcare systems are under pressure and people are in high-risk situations such as crowded indoor environments for long periods of time.

Reporting by Emma H. ​​Tobin of The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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