Free N95 masks distributed throughout Milwaukee County

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MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In an effort to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, several cities in Milwaukee County distributed thousands of free N95 masks Saturday morning.

"We have about 40,000 masks," explained Darcy Dubois, Health Officer at the Oak Creek Health Department. "We know that the masks are in a little bit of a short supply right now; they're hard to find. We really wanted to make them accessible to our community."

Oak Creek West Middle School was turned into a drive-thru mask distribution site Saturday with around 20 people volunteering their time to help hand out masks to their neighbors. That included Mayor Dan Bukiewicz.

"The goal is to get everybody masked and be safe," Mayor Bukiewicz explained while handing out masks. "Early in the pandemic, you could not get these things (masks). All we're asking is that you use them, you use them well; pass them on to those that need it."

It was a similar message in Cudahy where Mayor Tom Pavlic was on hand distributing masks at the drive-thru area set up inside one of the city's fire stations.

"We've been getting a lot of calls lately. A lot of the residents have seen Milwaukee distributing masks and they ask, 'Why not Cudahy?'" Mayor Pavlic said. "It's a good thing. We're glad to give masks out to anyone that needs them."

The latest Covid-19 update from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows every county in the state has critically high disease activity. Cudahy's health officer, Heather Puente, says these masks will be key in keeping the more vulnerable population in the city safe.

"We have a very high population percentage that's over 65. We have a large amount of senior apartments and people living below the poverty line, so we just wanted to make sure that they are able to get masks," Puente said. "We know the latest variant is very contagious and it's easily spread. We wanted to make sure our community had access to that."

St. Francis and South Milwaukee also had mask distribution events Saturday morning.

Oak Creek resident Antonio Johnson was grateful for the opportunity to receive a free bag of masks and help his community in the process.

"I think, whatever I can do to help do my part of the spread, to keep it down, I'll want to do that," Johnson said. "Anybody that's out there, if they haven't got out here, take advantage of these opportunities as they come about."

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