An organized volunteer effort to get cloth masks into the hands of vulnerable people to help flatten the curve has launched in Prince George’s County’s Route 1 communities. Called Route 1 Mask Match, the group gives local crafters a way to put their skills to use helping vulnerable people and those who must interact with large populations in the Route 1 communities, from Mount Rainier to Beltsville.
“Seniors groups up and down the corridor have already placed immediate requests for more than 50 masks,” said Lissa Bell, one of the organizers of the effort. “There is a great need for volunteers in the area to make these simple masks that will help save lives.”
The CDC now recommends that everyone wear cloth face masks while outside of the home together with social distancing techniques to slow the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. As of April 7, the Maryland Department of Health reports more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Prince George’s County and 26 deaths. Cloth masks are effective because they reduce the risk of transmitting virus-carrying droplets, which can be spread long before a person realizes they are infected.
Route 1 Mask Match has set up mask drop-offs in Hyattsville and College Park with more planned. Crafters can safely drop off completed masks, spare fabric, and other mask-making supplies. All donated masks will be distributed to local vulnerable people in a way that respects social distancing and safe interactions.
Priority for mask requests will go to seniors and other vulnerable people with health conditions and their caregivers, as well as grocery workers, health care providers, and other essential workers.
“There are many ongoing efforts to make cloth face masks to help flatten the curve,” said Bell in a statement. “Route 1 Mask Match is focused on the needs of those at risk in our local communities, as well as making sure people know how to properly wear and use their masks.”
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