Hartsville citizens flock to face-mask giveaway
By Samantha Lyles
The City of Hartsville held its fourth mask giveaway on Friday, Aug. 28, where residents could drive up to a kiosk at Carolina Pines Medical Center and receive free reusable face coverings. Judging by the enthusiastic response from citizens, the project designed to distribute 15,000 masks to the community has been a success.
“God bless you all for what you’re doing for the town,” said one recipient, as she waved goodbye to volunteers and drove away with a fresh supply of masks.
Lauren Baker, Public Information Officer for the City of Hartsville, said citizens have provided a great deal of positive feedback for the program, which aimed to ensure every city resident had access to face coverings.
“People have been so appreciative for the opportunity, especially in the beginning because masks were harder to find two months ago when we started all of this,” said Baker. “They are more accessible now, but not everyone has the means to go out and purchase all that they need.”
Each individual received two masks, and each family received five masks. Some exceptions were made for recipients who requested an extra mask for a neighbor with disabilities or mobility issues.
Carolina Pines, The Sonoco Foundation and The Byerly Foundation partnered with the city on the program. Each organization donated 5,000 masks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, face masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus, especially when combined with other preventive measures like frequent hand-washing and social distancing. They recommend cloth face masks for the public, leaving the surgical and N95 filter masks for health care providers whose exposure levels – and risk – are typically much higher.
A cloth mask can trap droplets released when we talk, cough, or sneeze. Prevailing wisdom now suggests that masks work primarily by preventing asymptomatic persons from unwittingly spreading the virus to those who might be vulnerable.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing a cloth face mask “when you’re around people who don’t live with you and in public settings when social distancing is difficult.”
The CDC also provides a these guidelines for effective mask usage:
•Wash or sanitize your hands before and after putting on and taking off your mask.
•Place your mask over your mouth and nose.
•Tie it behind your head or use ear loops and make sure it’s snug.
•Don’t touch your mask while wearing it.
•If you accidentally touch your mask, wash or sanitize your hands.
•If your mask becomes wet or dirty, switch to a clean one. Put the used mask in a sealable bag until you can wash it.
•Remove the mask by untying it or lifting off the ear loops without touching the front of the mask or your face.
•Wash your hands immediately after removing your mask.
•Regularly wash your mask with soap and water by hand or in the washing machine. It’s fine to launder it with other clothes.
And, here are a few face mask precautions:
•Don’t put masks on anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious or otherwise unable to remove the mask without help.
•Don’t put masks on children under 2 years of age.
•Don’t use face masks as a substitute for social distancing.
Baker said that while the COVID-19 virus still has no clear solution, Hartsville is making a good faith effort to help citizens cope with the current situation.
“Times are so hard right now and no one really knows exactly what to do,” said Baker. “But with things like the mask distribution, the sense of community that Hartsville has is truly showing through.”