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Milwaukee is giving away 500,000 more N95 masks starting today; here's where to get one

Earlier this week Milwaukee gave away 500,000 N95 masks in less than three days. Now the city is giving out another 50,000 masks.

Starting today, the N95 masks will be distributed via drive-up at the Northwest Health Center (7630 W. Mill Rd.), Southside Health Center (1639 S. 23rd St.) and Menomonee Valley Site (2401 W. St. Paul Ave.), as well on site at 13 Milwaukee Public Library branches. A complete list of locations and hours is available here.

Each car will receive a pack of 20 masks, which have been provided by the state of Wisconsin. Each mask can be reused up to five times, according to the Milwaukee Health Department (MHD), if they are left to sanitize in a breathable paper bag for at least 72 hours before reusing.

MHD expects these masks will go fast amid the continued surge of Covid-19, which has recently set several records for new confirmed cases in Wisconsin, and stronger public health messaging about the importance of higher quality masks. Because the omicron variant is so much more contagious than previous variants of Covid-19, “cloth masks are not going to cut it with omicron,” one researcher of infectious disease at Virginia Tech explained to NPR.

N95 masks can be purchased in some stores and online.

Meanwhile, public health officials have continued to stress the necessity of vaccines, which have been proven to drastically reduce serious illness, hospitalization and death as a result of Covid-19.

Following FDA and CDC approval, the MHD this week expanded administration of the booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines at all its clinics. The new guidelines allow for a booster dose to be administered to kids 12-15. It also shortens the time between the completion of a primary dose of the vaccine and a booster to five months or more, and allows for a third primary dose of the vaccine for some immunocompromised children between 5 and 11.

Vaccines and boosters are free and widely available. For more information on Covid-19 vaccines, you can visit Radio Milwaukee’s vaccine resource guide.