DENVER (KDVR) — Denver has joined the state’s free mask distribution, providing surgical-grade masks and KN95 masks at its rec centers.
The state’s COVID-19 incident commander said they have shipped 1 million masks to more than 380 locations across the state since last week.
“We are so excited Coloradans are going to these sites and getting these masks,” said Scott Bookman, director of the Division of Disease and Control and Public Health Response. “We are hearing sites all across the state that as masks come in, people are coming in to get them and they are working through them rapidly. We have broad demand across the state. A lot of excited people out there taking advantage of this program.”
The KN95 masks are a hot commodity right now. Estelle is a Denver resident who had gone to 17 locations looking for the free masks since the state announced the distribution last week.
“I am super relieved, so relieved because I’ve been to so many places. Every time I went, they were out immediately. I decided one more try and I did it!” Estelle said.
Denver resident Nancy Gloe said she had bought some of the masks on her own, and they were expensive.
“I am very relieved because I go out quite a bit. I feel like they are tighter and safer,” Gloe said.
How long will Colorado give out free masks?
The masks are being distributed five to a household, while supplies last. It has not been decided if supplies will be replenished by the state.
“We are going to continue evaluating the needs,” Bookman said. “There’s a new federal program, you have the ability to order masks online and have them shipped to your home. The feds are also starting distribution to community health centers and pharmacies across the country. We are going to monitor our program in the context of what the federal program looks like and see what we need to continue. We do not want to duplicate efforts.”
State health officials are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in recommending these masks over cloth masks.
“They have recently strongly started to recommend people upgrade their masks to surgical masks or KN95 masks if available. They provide a greater level of protection. That is why we wanted to make sure all Coloradans had easy access,” Bookman said.
The best thing to do is call ahead to make sure they have supplies available. You can check locations here.
People picking up the masks say they are just trying to do their part.
“I think these are relatively good. You know I don’t see any harm in wearing masks. It helps me, helps people around me. I think it just helps us get rid of this COVID business,” Castle Rock resident Vincent Montante said.