Starting July 10, Deschutes County began distributing close to 130,000 masks to community partners including local cities, chambers and nonprofits.
The distribution effort follows the announcement of a state-wide mandate requiring face coverings to be worn in indoor public spaces. Children under 12 years of age are not required to wear one. Individuals who have a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents the individual from wearing a mask, face shield or face covering can request an accommodation to enable full and equal access to services, transportation and facilities open to the public.
“Face coverings are one of our most effective tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Phil Henderson. “Working with our local cities, chambers and community organizations, we hope to ensure that free masks are available for those who need them.”
“It may feel strange to wear a mask, especially when we’re not used to it,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone. “But we wear them… and we’re asking for your help in wearing one also.”
The masks being distributed were provided by the State and Business Oregon. They are intended for the general public and not for use in medical facilities.
“Wearing face coverings is one of the easiest ways we can support local business and keep Central Oregon open. If we don’t stabilize COVID-19 cases in Deschutes County, we may have to take steps backward in our re-opening process,” said Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair. “That’s the last thing any of us wants to see. Our local businesses want to stay open. Our kids want to go back to school in the fall. Let’s work together to make that happen.”
Deschutes County Health Services reminds residents that wearing a face covering does not replace the need for physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and frequent hand washing. Masks are also encouraged outdoors if you will be in places where it is difficult to maintain six feet of physical distance, e.g., sidewalks in busy areas, parks, crowded trails and gatherings.
“Wearing face coverings is one of the best tools to protect ourselves and each other. By wearing a face covering, we protect others, especially the vulnerable, in case we have COVID-19 but are not symptomatic yet,” said Deschutes County Public Health Director Nahad Sadr-Azodi. “If we continue to wear face coverings in public, watch our distance (and) wash our hands frequently, we can help keep each other safe and our communities open.”
Face coverings being provided to community partners are disposable and reusable if clean. They are not recommended for washing. We encourage community members to obtain cloth face coverings that can be laundered.