People seek out N95 masks to help protect against COVID-19

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina's daily COVID-19 cases continue to set records.

"It's sad to see cases are going up. You would think people would wear their masks and do what they are supposed to," said Trey Foster, a Wake County resident.

With one out of every three tests coming back positive, many are seeking out stronger protection.

Foster said he has been searching for N-95 masks for a while without any luck.

"I have been trying to find places to be able to give you one but when I went to look at different places, they were all sold out," said Foster.

As cases remain high across the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended more Americans wear N-95 masks. The CDC said earlier this month that the N-95 masks offer the best protection.

Previously, supply has been low and reserved for frontline healthcare workers.

The Wake County Health Department started distributing N-95 masks for free at five sites across the county. Last Thursday was the first day and supply ran out at two sites.

President Joe Biden announced the federal government will distribute 400 million N-95 masks later this week. The supply will come from the Strategic National Stockpile that has more than 750 million masks. People will be able to pick them up for free at local community health centers and pharmacies.

In the meantime, state health officials continue to say the best mask is the one that fits comfortably.

"If you can't wear a N95 or you can't find an KN95 then a K95 also gives a good degree of protections along with a surgical or procedure mask but with the procedure mask you need to make sure it's not gaps, and it fits really well. Particular with children," Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, state health director, told ABC11 last week.

The CDC also recommends wearing two masks if people have a surgical or cloth mask.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.