Boys & Girls Club of Dane County distributes masks

As the omicron variant causes unprecedented COVID-19 infections, the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County distributed N95 and KN95 masks to community members at the Allied Family Center in Fitchburg.

By Marisa Wojcik | Here & Now

January 14, 2022 • South Central Region

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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is dipping into its stockpile of N95 masks to give out across Wisconsin, as they’re recommended but, for some, hard to come by. One effort in Madison is working to get masks into the hands of the community.

“It’s been nonstop. This line behind us has been going on since actually before noon today,” said Laura Ford-Harris, chief development officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, as she helps pass out packages of masks..

Cars continued to fill and refill the parking lot of the Boys & Girls Club’s Allied Family Center in Fitchburg on Jan. 12 as the group distributed free N95 masks to the community.

“[Boys & Girls Club of Dane County president and CEO] Michael Johnson, Governor Evers’ office worked together to get over 200,000 N95 masks,” Ford-Harris said.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is more contagious and spreading to even those who are vaccinated.

“Now these new variants are coming up. We have people in our community who are at a greater risk,” noted volunteer Jacquelyn Hunt.

“I wanted to get a few KN95s ’cause I have the regular mask, but which is not working as well because the virus is spreading, so I’m a little nervous and I’m on dialysis,” said Latisha McDuffy, who was in the line of cars waiting for her turn.

There’s a new demand to mask up beyond the protection of cloth and surgical masks and to use designated N95s. But there’s a problem.

It’s really hard to find. The prices are super high when you try to order them online,” McDuffy said. “I’m very happy and grateful for them. I’m grateful.”

President Joe Biden is expected to announce a plan to also make N95 masks more readily available to the public.

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