Health First Health Plans Donates 100,000 Masks to Those on Frontlines of COVID-19 Pandemic
By Space Coast Daily // December 7, 2020
Masks to be distributed to first responders, educators and skilled caregivers
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – To help protect our community, Brevard’s leading healthcare provider distributed comfortable, two-ply cloth face masks for free to public servants, frontline workers and those most vulnerable to COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Health First Health Plans decided to give back to those who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So they arranged for a large supply of two-ply, cloth face masks to be distributed to frontline public employees and those most vulnerable throughout Brevard County — including first responders, educators and skilled caregivers.
“As Brevard County continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that always wearing a mask when in public is crucial to stopping the spread of this virus,” said Steve Johnson, Health First President & CEO.
“Health First is proud to have been able to assist Brevard residents by donating more than 100,000 face masks so we can protect ourselves and each other.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stressed to the public for months now that COVID-19 is spread mostly by respiratory droplets released when people cough, sneeze, sing, talk or even breathe, and it recommends community use of cloth masks – specifically non-valved, multi-layer face coverings.
This fall, Health First distributed more than 100,000 around the county, including:
■ 10,000 to area schools
■ 4,500 to the Children’s Hunger Project
■ 4,000 to Junior Olympics participants
■ Nearly 4,000 to local skilled nursing facility workers
■ 3,000 to area police officers and firefighters
■ 1,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank
■ 30,000 to Health First Health Plans’ Medicare members and another 30,000 or more to Individual and ■ Small/Large Group members
■ Nearly 9,000 to Health First associates
■ Thousands more to area residents
After receiving its shipment, the Rockledge Police Department and its Chief Joseph LaSata wrote in a letter to Steve Johnson, Health First President & CEO, “I truly believe the success of any police department relies on the support of the public it serves. Receiving your cloth face mask donation confirms the strong working relationship the Rockledge Police Department enjoys with our public.”
“Your kind efforts will not be forgotten,” LaSata added.
Cases of COVID-19 have been surging in the U.S. this fall, and public health officials are imploring Americans to adopt face coverings outside the home when others are near.
“Americans are trying to do their part to stall the spread of COVID-19 by limiting gatherings and staying physically apart, but we know there are times we have to go out. There simply is no better protection, and no better tool to fight the spread of this virus, than wearing a multi-ply cloth mask that covers the mouth and nose fully,” said Dr. Jeffrey Stalnaker, Health First Chief Clinical Officer.
Such masks have been demonstrated to substantially block not just large droplets, but fine ones, often called aerosols, too.
In one instance, two COVID-19-symptomatic hairstylists went to work throughout their illness in an environment in which both they and their clients wore masks without exception, pursuant local ordinance and company policy. None of the reporting salon workers or clients fell ill.
The symptoms to watch for are fever (100.4 F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell and a few others. The best agent to stop the spread of COVID-19 is you.
Stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are waiting for a COVID-19 test result or were in contact recently with someone with COVID-19.