Numerous organizations on the Plateau are gearing up to hand out free masks and hand sanitizer to residents.
In a July 15 press release, King County announced it bought five million cloth masks — enough for each person in the county to receive two — and 20 million disposable masks. In order to get these masks to the public, the county is first disseminating the materials to various King County Library System buildings to then be given to nearly 650 organizations and municipalities around the county.
Local organizations participating in this mass mask measure include the Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market, the Calvary Presbyterian Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Enumclaw Senior Center, and Plateau Outreach Ministries, as well as the city of Enumclaw.
Local, state, and federal officials are strongly urging people continue to wear masks to slow the rising COVID-19 outbreak, as some states have been setting — and breaking — daily infection records on a continual basis.
King County is also seeing a rise in infection rates after a brief lull. According to the county Health Department, more than 12,000 people have been infected, and more than 100 people are testing positive for the coronavirus every day.
It should be noted that hospitalization rates and deaths have remained low since the end of March. However, the focus of health organizations seems to be shifting from COVID-19 deaths to how the virus can cause long-term damage, the Washington Post reported on June 11.
“Post-viral syndromes have been associated with numerous viruses in the past, but until the pandemic, they were considered relatively rare,” the article reads. “In the case of covid-19, researchers are unsure whether people with extended symptoms are simply facing a long recovery — or whether their illness will come to resemble something like myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, a complex illness characterized by profound exhaustion and sleep problems, or other conditions that can last for years, or a lifetime.”
Here in Enumclaw, the vast majority of COVID-19 cases were reported between mid-March and mid-April, but scattered infections continue in the area, according to the county Health Department.
WHERE TO GET YOUR MASKS
The city of Enumclaw announced on their Facebook page on July 14 that the supplies they received are now available to the public and can be picked up at the Enumclaw Police Department. Supplies are limited, so the city asks people take only four masks per household. Additionally, it does not appear hand sanitizer was a part of the city’s order to the county.
The city is also planning to distribute the disposable masks it received to local small businesses, Mayor Jan Molinaro said.
Like the city, POM is passing out supplies to the general public during their food bank hours, which are Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market will be distributing masks and sanitizer to their customers on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
The Senior Center will not be passing out supplies to the general public, but will be focusing on the Plateau’s senior community; Director Jobyna Nickum said masks and sanitizer will be distributed to senior housing units, senior mobile home parks, those who are receiving shelter-in-place meals, and seniors who are on a “reassurance check-in call” list.
Seniors will also be able to pick up supplies at the Senior Center, although times for distribution were yet to be determined as of Thursday, July 16.
Finally, any leftover stock will be held at the Senior Center for when it finally reopens in Phase 4 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s re-opening plan.
The Enumclaw Church of Latter-day Saints will first be focusing on distributing materials to their church groups, said members Jeri and Alan Gamblin, but any leftover supplies may be then distributed to the public.
The Calvary Presbyterian Church has not decided to do with the majority of their masks and sanitizer as of Friday, July 17, but mentioned some supplies would be placed in the church’s Blessing Box right outside the front door.