DENVER (KDVR) — There was some confusion Wednesday as families across Colorado tried to find free KN95 masks distributed by the state through some libraries and community centers.
This is information a state spokesperson provided Wednesday:
Please check covid19.colorado.gov/freemasks or call the Colorado Covid-19 hotline at 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) to find a location near you. Only the sites listed on this site are currently distributing masks. Those sites opted-in to the program and masks were delivered yesterday. We appreciate Coloradans’ patience as the distribution sites get up and running. We are adding fire stations, YMCAs, VFWs and more as we ship them masks. We have invited those types of sites to opt-in to the distribution program.”
Families showed up Wednesday to different places listed on the site. Some locations had masks and some did not, depending on when they received their delivery and how quickly the masks were given out. So, it’s probably a good idea to call the location to check supply before going there.
By midday, people who showed up at the Koelbel Library in Arapahoe County were out of luck.
“The ones they did receive were all gone,” William Valle said.
According to the state, it delivered 82,500 KN95s and 226,000 surgical masks to distribution points on Tuesday and it shipped more on Wednesday. Dr. Kenneth Lyn-Kew, a critical care physician at National Jewish Health, said these masks will offer better protection.
“With this more infectious variant we want to have the best protection we can to limit the spread,” Lyn-Kew said. “The N95 is the American standard for this. In China, the standard is the KN95, and they both block 95% of the particles,” he said.
When to wear an N95 mask?
Many people had complained about the price of the masks, and the marketplace is flooded with fakes, so Lyn-Kew believes the government programs are a good option. But many people are still wondering, when should they wear these masks?
“In the ideal world, you would wear it every time you are wearing a mask. In a more practical world, you would wear it whenever you are in a higher risk situation,” Lyn-Kew said.
Plus, soon there will be another option. In the coming days, the federal government will ship N95 masks to pharmacies and healthcare centers around the country. Those should be available for free to the public by the end of next week.
A Walgreens spokesperson said select pharmacies will distribute those masks under the federal plan, but the details have not been worked out yet.