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County health officials distribute 1,000 free face masks

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — With the Fourth of July holiday weekend approaching, county health officials on Thursday gave out nearly 1,000 free face masks to people at the West End Plaza.

The Fourth is about being together with family and friends, said county public health director Nina Oliver.

“But do it outside,” Oliver said.

And if gatherings cannot take place outside, Oliver urged locals to social distance themselves while wearing masks.

After requesting 75,000 face masks from the state, Oliver said the county was granted 50,000 to give away for free to Rowan County residents.

Thursday’s drive-thru face mask giveaway began 30 minutes earlier than scheduled due to a line that formed around 9:30 a.m. Oliver said the crowd was steady throughout the day, with numerous locals requesting multiple masks for family members and friends. And many made sure to express how thankful they were for the free masks.

The drive-thru event ended at 1 p.m., but Oliver said the county intends to host another, similar event. Additionally, face masks will be given to residents at the county’s numerous testing sites. The goal is to “get the masks out,” she said.

Along with members of the Rowan County Health Department, Cyndii Owen, of the Rowan Public Library, assisted in handing out face masks. Owen was responsible for placing a mask and an instructional sheet in each plastic bag, which took about 30 minutes per 100 masks.

Rowan County Fire Marshal Deborah Horne said on Thursday that, thankfully, she’s seen more and more members of the community wearing face masks or face coverings in public.

Oliver said positive cases continue to rise across the nation along with a rise in hospitalizations, which she called “very worrisome.” So wearing a mask is even more important, she said, adding that it’s the neighborly thing to do because it protects others around you.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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