Free masks available at branches of Sno-Isle Libraries

Those looking to upgrade their masks for better protection can now get free KN90 masks at their local libraries, the Snohomish Health District said.

Upgraded masks, like KN90, KF94 or N95, offer a higher level of protection compared to cloth or disposable procedure masks. Unfortunately, that higher quality comes with a higher price tag, especially when they can only be worn a few times before having to be discarded.

“We’re pleased to continue our partnerships with the Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County, Island County and Everett Public Library to make it even easier for everyone in our community to get a high-quality mask,” said Lois Langer Thompson, executive director of Sno-Isle Libraries. “With 23 libraries across both counties, we provide easy access to information and resources, including masks.”

Both the Washington State Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to recommend universal masks indoors, including in school settings. Snohomish County’s most recent case rate was 1,662 per 100,000 residents for the two-week period ending Feb. 5, the health district said, and although the downward trajectory of COVID cases is a relief, the level of transmission and the ongoing strain on the health care system remains.

“While masking requirements are likely to be downgraded in the near future as the omicron surge wanes, they will still need to be worn by people completing isolation or quarantine,” noted Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “This will also be true for some medically vulnerable individuals, in some high-risk settings, and by all of us the next time cases and hospitalizations go back up.”

The masking requirement is established at the state level by the state secretary of health’s order for masking in public indoor settings and the governor’s proclamation with requirements for worker health and safety. Gov. Jay Inslee has indicated masking requirements are under review and adjustments are anticipated. Until that time, the Health District recommends, and the local health officer’s order requires, that residents, employers and organizations continue to follow the state requirements.

For more information about masks and where to find free masks at the library, visit www.snohd.org/masks.

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