WATERTOWN, NY — Jefferson County has just received from NYS approximately 51,000 KN95 face masks. These masks are far more effective than plain cloth masks at filtering out airborne particles, including the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19. The general guidance from NYS is to distribute these masks out to the public to minimize the spread of COVID- 19. Given the population of Jefferson County is over 115,000, it will not be possible to provide a mask to every resident.
Jefferson County is following a distribution plan based upon direction from NYS and the model used earlier in the Pandemic to get quantities out into communities. Masks are being provided to each town in Jefferson County and the City of Watertown; as well as several human service non-profit agencies in the City (CAPC, Urban Mission and Salvation Army) to distribute to populations they serve. Your Town or City will announce where and when community members can obtain masks next week.
This is a one-time allotment of masks with no further supplies anticipated at this time. Some KN95 masks are available in retail stores for purchase, and please remember that all KN95 masks generally have limited re-use and should be disposed of after extended use. For those who are unable to obtain a KN95 mask, the CDC recommends wearing two masks (disposable surgical paper mask underneath and cloth mask on top) for extra protection.
Per NYS, it is expected that Jefferson County will be receiving Home COVID Test Kits. We have not been advised on any estimated time of arrival or guidance on the distribution of these test kits. Jefferson County will issue a press release when test kits have been received.