Members of West Hartford’s Community Emergency Response Team has scheduled additional distributions of N95 masks on Saturday, Jan. 22 and Tuesday, Jan, 25. [Updated]
By Ronni Newton
The Town of West Hartford will be once again be holding a distribution of N95 masks on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at the former St. Brigid School property at 100 Mayflower Street, and also has scheduled a distribution on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 9 a.m.-noon.
This is the third Saturday in a row, and will be the fourth and fifth times this year, that the town’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has held a drive-up distribution of N95 masks to members of the public, and to date they have distributed more than 20,000 masks.
Saturday’s event is weather-dependent.
Each vehicle will receive 10 masks, which come folded and individually wrapped, at the distribution, organizers said. They ask that no one arrive early, and emphasize that there are plenty of masks available and there is no danger of the stock running out.
Everyone is asked to stay in their vehicle and follow the signs.
Just before New Year’s, the town received an allocation of 230,000 adult N95 masks from the State of Connecticut, and has been distributing them to the public. N95 masks have also been given to the town’s schools and can be requested for employees of businesses in town via this form. Businesses will be notified when the masks are ready for pick-up.
Any resident who has a disability or otherwise requires a reasonable accommodation to obtain the masks should contact the Town of West Hartford’s Office of Emergency Management at 860-561-8310. Requests for a reasonable accommodation may also be requested via email to [email protected]
“N95, KN95 and surgical masks offer greater protection from the highly contagious omicron virus than cloth face coverings,” the town said in an announcement. N95 masks, which are not intended for use by children, have straps that go over the head rather than ear loops.
The masks being distributed by the town provide a very close facial fit, and according to standards will filter out 95% of solid and liquid aerosols. The masks come individually wrapped and are foldable.
Robert McCue, deputy director of the town’s Office of Emergency Management and leader of CERT, confirmed that while they share the same lot number, the serial numbers of the masks being distributed by the town have been carefully checked and they are NOT among the BYD N95 masks being recalled.
According to McCue, CERT received a message from the state noting that the Connecticut National Guard has reviewed the entire stock of BYD N95 masks located in their warehouse, comparing all of the serial number as well the lot numbers. There were more than 500,000 masks that were affected by the recall, and all were returned to BYD prior to the most recent distribution of masks to municipalities. “This careful and methodical review of all masks took three weeks to complete,” an email received by CERT stated.
While the town does not currently have a distribution scheduled for rapid self-tests, every home in the U.S. is eligible to receive four free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests can be requested through this link, and will be shipped at no cost via the U.S. Postal Service beginning in late January.
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