The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday June 24th

Orange County Health Department to distribute free N95 masks

DTH Photo Illustration. A stack of N95 masks is on display.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. A stack of N95 masks is on display.

Orange County Health Department will distribute free N95 masks to the public starting Monday.

According to a Thursday press release from OCHD, the masks will be available as supplies last at the following times and locations:

  • Orange County Public Library: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Inter-Faith Council for Social Service: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services also offers free masks via online request. 

“Use the best quality and best-fitting mask you can get, especially in higher-risk situations and if you are at increased risk for severe illness,” the OCHD press release said.

N95 and KN95 masks are considered the highest quality, followed by surgical masks and cloth masks with multiple layers, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The department advises wearing N95 masks with multiple layers.

OCHD also encourages individuals to make sure masks are well-fitted to provide the most protection. The CDC provides guidance on how to make sure a mask is properly fitted.

It is also important that masks, including N95s, are replaced when they become worn down. Certain situations make choosing a quality mask even more important, in particular for high-risk individuals. 

“Scenarios that call for better protection can include being in close and prolonged contact with people whose vaccination status is unknown, being in crowded indoor settings, riding on public transportation and working at a job where you interact with large numbers of people,” the press release said.

Orange County has experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases. Face coverings are still required in all indoor public places.

If community members have questions, they may reach the OCHD call center at (919) 913-8088 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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