Wake County to Replenish N95 Mask Distribution Sites

In just over a week, Wake County Health and Human Services has distributed almost 130,000 N95 masks to the public at regional centers, vaccine clinics, testing locations and community organizations. To help meet the public’s ongoing needs, masks will be replenished at all public distribution sites by end of day today, Feb. 1. 

“The demand for these masks has been extremely high and we know they are going to go fast,” said Associate Medical Director & Epidemiology Program Director Dr. Nicole Mushonga. “We appreciate our community’s patience as we continue working to get N95 masks into the hands of as many people as possible.”

Masks will be restocked tomorrow at all locations below and will be distributed Monday through Friday while supplies last:  

Residents can check if there’s masks available ahead of time by visiting wakegov.com/covid.

County staff are working to ensure community partners serving historically marginalized populations have masks available to them to distribute. More than 53,000 masks were distributed last week to different churches, religious organizations, food banks, homeless shelters and service agencies throughout Wake County.

Another distribution day is scheduled for this week with an additional 20,000 masks to be shared with community partners. Plans are being made for a similar event next week to continue getting masks out to those who may need them most. Any community organization who can help distribute masks to their populations can email pperequests@wake.gov.

Additional N95 Mask Options
Because of the new fast-spreading Omicron variant, it’s highly recommended everyone wear a tight-fitting mask with multiple layers, ideally a high-filtration mask for more protection (e.g., surgical mask, KN95 or N95). You can find these type masks in local stores, including hardware and home improvement stores. You can also find them at online retailers.

NCDHHS suggests searching Project N95, a non-profit organization that connects people to approved masks. The CDC explains what makes a good fit and how to test that yours is sealing well.

The vaccines have been proven to effectively prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. However, it’s still possible that vaccinated people can get infected. This means people who are vaccinated could be spreading the virus, especially if they come in close contact with others or stop wearing masks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in areas of high or substantial community spread, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should:

  • Wear a mask when in public indoor spaces and when in large crowds;
  • Get tested 3–5 days after exposure if you have been around or exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or have symptoms; and
  • Stay home and away from others if feeling ill.

Mask Guidance
When choosing a mask, it’s important to check that it fits snugly over your nose, mouth and chin. Ways to check that your mask fits correctly include:

  • Testing for gaps by cupping your hands around the outside edges of the mask and checking for air flow out the gaps.
  • Press down on both sides of the nose bridge wire to secure any gaps there.
  • If the mask has a good fit, you will feel warm air come through the front of the mask and may be able to see the mask material move in and out with each breath.

Do NOT wear masks when:

  • It is hard to breathe while wearing them;
  • They are wet or dirty;
  • Wearing other masks or respirators; and
  • As a replacement for NIOSH-approved respiratory protection when required by your job.

Care and use of N95 Masks
The normal storage time limit on this type of masks is generally five years shelf life in a temperature stable, dry, with no exposure to direct sunlight.

N95s can be worn for five days in a row under usual everyday usage and can be stored in brown paper bags to allow for any moisture to evaporate.

They should be disposed of and changed as soon as possible if they become soiled, wet or known to have had a direct exposure to COVID-19.

Staying Updated
Visit Wake County’s multilingual COVID-19 webpage for the latest information on COVID-19. It features a set of frequently asked questions to educate residents, COVID-19 vaccine information, COVID-19 testing locations and the most current data on how the virus is impacting our county.

Also, look for important updates about COVID-19 on Wake County’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Press Release