JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax is partnering with a doctor to spread the word about face masks that he will provide to the public for free in the coming days. He’s quite appropriately calling the campaign Masks4Jax.
Dr. Saumil Oza, a cardiologist with Ascension St. Vincent’s, is providing thousands of masks to local restaurants to provide to customers who order delivery or takeout. Two masks will be provided with each order.
“Our goal at Masks4Jax is to get these masks disseminated as quickly as possible," Oza said.
Oza hopes 50 restaurants will be participating when the program launches on Tuesday. (See the initial list of locations at bottom of this story.)
“We have a big surge coming in the next three weeks at hospitals. We are really seeing the beginning of that surge. It is starting now," Oza said. “If we can get these masks out now, I think that it will do a lot of good to help flatten the curve.”
Oza has 30,000 locally-make cloth masks available for the program People who receive them will also get a flyer explaining how to use and care for the masks.
“It is a simple cloth mask that you wear over your face that you loop around your ears,” Oza said. “Do not touch the front of the mask. Make sure you wear the same side of the mask against your mouth every time.”
Oza said these masks should not be used in place of any of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommendations to avoid contact with people as much as possible and keep your distance but in addition to them.
Oza said the masks should be used when you have to leave the house, like go to the grocery store or pharmacy.
These are not the N95 masks or count as personal protective equipment that is in short supply. Oza certainly doesn’t want to deplete any equipment needed to protect medical professionals.
The Masks4Jax website has information not only on the program but how to make your own maks.
List of locations that will be participating in Masks4Jax starting Wednesday: