By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
In an era when masks have become so important to our safety, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is ensuring that the Central Oregon community has access to them.
The Sheriff’s Office’s Emergency Management Team began distributing 130,000 masks and hundreds of bottles of hand sanitizer Friday morning in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The state of Oregon had a surplus of these masks, and so they’re disseminating those masks to counties to use as face coverings for our community members,” said Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Nathan Garibay. “This is the result of what kind of came in and wasn’t able to be used in a medical setting.”
The face coverings and hand sanitizer will be distributed to more than 30 organizations who will then be able to give them to others.
“It’s a needed service,” said Rodrigo Gaspar Barajas with the Deschutes County Public Library. “We’ve been seeing the statistics that we’ve been seeing nationally sort of occurring here in town too, Latinos being disproportionately affected and vulnerable communities being disproportionately affected. So getting these supplies out to them where they are is crucial.”
“We go out to the homeless camps and we work with the homeless people,” said members of the Central Oregon Veteran’s Outreach. “It’s very important for them to stay as safe as the rest of us so this has been a big lift up for us.”
“This is an opportunity for all community members to participate, and sometimes we need to recognize that it’s important that we give folks the tools necessary for them to keep healthy,” Joanne Mina with the Latino Community Association said.
“As a community, we’re trying to do our part,” said Garibay. “[We] want to make sure that those members of our community who need face coverings have access to them.”
The masks and hand sanitizer will be distributed over the next few days.