The state of Michigan, Ford Motor Company and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be partnering to provide four million free masks to Michigan residents who are vulnerable to COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Friday.
Masks will be given to low-income residents, seniors, schools and homeless shelters through the MI Mask Aid program, which is part of the Mask Up Michigan campaign. The program aims to get masks to vulnerable populations, including minority residents who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic as a result of racism, the governor’s office said.
“Michigan needs to continue to ‘mask up’ to protect us all from COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Vulnerable populations may have difficulties buying masks and our schools need face coverings to keep students, staff and community members safe. I am thrilled that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Ford and FEMA are working together to help control the spread of the coronavirus.”
Masks and other facial coverings have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
FEMA has already sent 1.5 million masks to local community action agencies, MDHHS offices, homeless shelters, area agencies of aging and Native American tribes. Another one million masks from FEMA and 1.5 million from Ford will be donated to low-income schools, the City of Detroit, federally qualified health centers and a select number of COVID-19 testing sites.
“The irony of this pandemic that requires physical distancing is that it reveals how connected we truly are — how much we rely on one another every day,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said in a statement. “…By delivering four million masks at no cost to Michiganders, we can provide a proven, lifesaving device to countless residents as they go back to work, school, and define new way of living during this pandemic.”
Those interested in obtaining a free masks can find a distribution location by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 or by looking up their local community action agency online.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter at The Michigan Star and Star News Digital Media. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]