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Riverside County giving away 10 million face masks to prevent spread of virus

07242020 MASKS RIVCO CORONAVIRUS

Riverside County officials announced they're giving away 10 million masks to help in the fight against coronavirus. 

Masks are Medicine Press Conference - July 24, 2020

Masks are Medicine Press Conference - July 24, 2020

Posted by Riverside University Health System - Public Health on Friday, July 24, 2020

“We fight the virus with medicine, and in the absence of a vaccine, these masks are medicine,” said  Lou Monville, Chair of the Riverside County Economic Recovery Task Force.

Masks have been proven to decrease the risk of coronavirus infection, but for some people, just obtaining one has been difficult. 

“With our partners we can get masks onto the faces of hundreds of thousands of Riverside County residents, some of whom may not have the financial means to easily buy them of their own,” said Kim Saruwatari, Director of Riverside County Public Health.

The masks were distributed amongst local non-profits on Friday to then be spread throughout the community. 

One of those nonprofits is Coachella Valley-based FIND Food Bank.

“When people are coming for food we’ll be giving the masks too, as well,” said Debbie Espinosa, President & CEO of FIND Food Bank.

Espinosa said that many communities in the Eastern Coachella Valley will benefit from this partnership. 

“All of a sudden you have this unified system of making sure that everybody has equitable access not just to food now, but also the protective equipment that they need to be able to bring our valley out of this economic slump that we have right now," Espinosa said. 

In order to stop the spread and get the economy up-and-running again, medical professionals say it’s up to community members. That’s why the county is launching an online pledge that all residents can join. 

“We know that 40 percent of spread is silent, it’s that much more important to wear a mask and we know that by making a promise or pledge people are more likely to stick to it,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung of Riverside County Health.

With the community’s help, the county’s goal is to reverse the rise in cases over the next 30 days.

This initiative cost 2 million dollars. The funding is a part of the county’s allocation of the Federal CARES Act. 

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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.

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Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.

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