"Wearing a mask reduces the spread by around 85 percent," said Donald Gintzig, WakeMed Health & Hospitals President and CEO. "It doesn't solve everything. It isn't the be all and end all. But especially for those vulnerable populations, wearing a mask helps protect."
The distribution focuses on residents living in the 27610 zip code, which includes portions of Southeast Raleigh and East Raleigh and has the most cases in the city and Wake County.
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"It is one that is one of our more diverse," Gintzig said. "It is one that is one of our more economically depressed so you have the certain environment for the spread, for multi-generational families, for the health disparities that have existed to make them more vulnerable."
State data shows more than 600 COVID-19 cases among residents living in that zip code.
"Next week, we will have the distribution channels in place and make them available until they're gone," Gintzig said, adding that they hope to ultimately distribute 100,000 masks. "Hopefully that will help slow the spread in that community, along with education around how best to protect that particular vulnerable population."
Organizations assisting with the distribution include:
- Crosby Advocacy Group
- Fertile Ground
- Catholic Parrish
- Philip Randolph Institute
- NC Counts Coalition
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Alpha Theta Omega Chapter
- Delta Sigma Theta Raleigh Alumnae Chapter
- DHIC - Washington Terrace
- El Pueblo