Gov. Whitmer announces 4 million free masks to be distributed to vulnerable populations

Michigan

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Governor Gretchen Whtimer today announced four million free masks will be distributed to Michigan residents who are most susceptible to COVID-19 through a partnership with the state, Ford Motor Company and Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA).

Low-income residents, seniors, schools and homeless shelters will benefit from the MI Mask Aid partnership that is part of the Mask Up Michigan campaign.

“Michigan needs to continue to ‘mask up’ to protect us all from COVID-19,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Vulnerable populations may have difficulties buying masks and our schools need face coverings to keep students, staff and community members safe. I am thrilled that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Ford and FEMA are working together to help control the spread of the coronavirus.”

The project is in partnership with Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II.

>>>Anyone interested in receiving a free mask can find a distribution  location by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 or looking up their local Community Action Agency online.

The irony of this pandemic that requires physical distancing is that it reveals how connected we truly are—how much we rely on one another every day,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist II said. “I’m thankful for our partners at Ford, FEMA and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for coming together in a big way to ensure that our communities, particularly those hardest hit, have what they need to get through these tough times. By delivering four million masks at no cost to Michiganders, we can provide a proven, lifesaving device to countless residents as they go back to work, school, and define new way of living during this pandemic.”

The free masks include 1.5 million from FEMA that the state has already sent to organizations that include local Community Action Agencies serving low-income residents, MDHHS offices, Area Agencies on Aging, homeless shelters and Native American tribes.

Another 1 million face coverings from FEMA and 1.5 million from Ford will go to low-income schools, the City of Detroit, Federally Qualified Health Centers, some COVID-19 testing sites and to many of the organizations listed above to reach vulnerable populations – including minority residents who have been affected by the public health crisis as a result of racism.

“Masks are proven to reduce a person’s chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent. There’s also growing evidence that masks can protect the wearer’s life, by reducing the severity of COVID if they get it,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. “It’s critically important to make sure communities most impacted by COVID-19 have greater access to masks at no cost. The MI Mask Aid initiative is a critical step in this effort.”

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

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