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Rogue Community Health to give away 1,000 cloth masks

Rogue Community Health will give away 1,000 cloth masks and pocket-sized bottles of hand sanitizer at two Rogue Valley grocery stores from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

The items are intended to lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. Officials from the Rogue Valley health care nonprofit will be at Grocery Outlet, 7571 Highway 62, White City, and at Sherm’s Thunderbird Market, 2347 W. Main St., Medford. Each location will have 500 bags containing the items, according to Rogue Community Health spokeswoman Erin Zelinka.

Masks at Grocery Outlet will be distributed in the entry area, with officials setting up outside Sherm’s, Zelinka said.

The double-layered masks have an interior “filter pocket,” metal nose frame and adjustable straps. They are intended to fit adults and most children 5 and older. The hand sanitizer is more than 60% alcohol, within CDC guidelines. Rogue Community Health officials will also hand out information on best practices for cloth mask use, both in English and Spanish.

“Information on how often you need to wash them and all that,” Zelinka said.

The giveaway was paid for through Oregon Health Authority grants for COVID-19 outreach. Masks are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice,” according to the CDC website.

“This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that show masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth,” the website says, adding mask use is particularly important in settings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

Rogue Community Health held a similar giveaway in late August in Ashland, Butte Falls, Medford, Prospect and White City, distributing 455 cloth masks and bottles of hand sanitizer, Zelinka said. Many attendees arrived wearing disposable masks and walked away with reusable cloth masks.

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com.