Health officials pass out free masks to combat growing need


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Friday, the Tennessee Health Department began an ongoing effort to combat a statewide deficit—the need for face masks.

“Wearing a mask is the best tool we have to go out in the community and combat this,” said James Tabor, Emergency Response Coordinator for the Metro Public Health Department.

The department, alongside the Tennessee Health Department and local volunteers, held a drive-thru mask event where people could pick up two masks per person in the vehicle. However, volunteers were lenient with families who needed more.

“People have asked me, ‘May I have extra for my elderly neighbors? They can not get out,” said Leanna Brooks, a volunteer for Hands On Nashville. “And, I’m like ‘Absolutely, how many do you need?'”

The Metro Public Health Department gave out 6,120 masks Friday over a 4-hour period. The fast distribution is indicative of how much people in Davidson County were in need of a mask.

“Lots of cars driving by saying they looked for them in the store,” said Brooks. “They tried to get them on Amazon, but they are too expensive.”

MPHD officials plan to set more distribution locations and delivery options.

“We are working on plans to deliver to high-rise locations, to long-term care facilities and places like that,” Tabor said.

Officials will pass out more masks Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Metro Southeast facility on Murfreesboro Pike in the Genesco Plaza near the airport.

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