Jackson County announces giveaway of 100,000 masks

 KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Government is announcing today that 100,000 masks will be given away to Jackson County residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The County will be partnering with churches around the County to host giveaways in multiple communities.

“Wearing a mask has been shown to slow the spread of this deadly disease and will ultimately save lives. Therefore, it is critical that we remove any barriers that could prevent people from wearing them – whether it be cost, accessibility or availability,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “This opportunity would not be possible without Legislator Ron Finley, who came up with the idea to obtain large quantities of the masks and to partner with members of the faith community to help us distribute them. I’d also like to thank Governor Parson for providing these masks so we can offer them at no cost to our residents of Jackson County.”

“COVID-19 is still spreading in our County and we encourage everyone to wear a mask consistent with the health order to protect themselves and the public. Doing so will help keep our community safe, strong and open for business,” said 2nd District Jackson County Legislator Ron Finley. “I appreciate the support of the County Executive, Legislators and Governor Parson on this project. We are all in this together.”

The first giveaway takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15 at the Grain Valley Community Center, 713 N. Main Street, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Each person will receive 10 disposable masks during the drive-thru distribution until the supply of 15,000 lasts. Details for future mask distributions will be announced on Jackson County’s website and social media platforms.

The Office of Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté has been instrumental in organizing the giveaway and will assist in distributing the masks. The County’s public health effort to combat the spread of coronavirus is in coordination with the Office of Governor Mike Parson, which is supplying the masks through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

“I am proud to work with the elected leaders of Jackson County who have been great team players in our collective fight against COVID-19,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “We share a common priority of keeping our residents healthy and safe. Any resources that the state can provide to maintain that commitment, I am willing to assist to support that effort.”

Local public health directors and hospital officials say wearing a face mask is the most effective and least costly strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19. Combined with social distancing, masks limit the release of infected droplets when talking, coughing and sneezing. So far, more than 3,600 people have been infected with the virus and 78 people have died in all of Jackson County.

“The science is clear that when we wear masks, we limit the spread of droplets being passed on to others when we talk, cough or sneeze,” said Jackson County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer, MPH. “We need compliance with the order to best control the virus. Mask wearing is one of the simplest and least invasive tools we have to protect our families, friends, and neighbors in Jackson County.”

Currently, Jackson County is in Phase 2.5 of its recovery plan which requires a mask to be worn in public indoor and public outdoor spaces.