Note from Dr. Marc Stern, NSA COVID-19 Medical Advisor
The National Sheriffs' Association, through a partnership with REFORM Alliance, has distributed more than 5 million medical masks to jails in 1,000+ counties and correctional facilities in 46 states so far. The effort was possible with the generous support of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, whose #startsmall donation contributed $10 million to the PPE campaign.
This is a great start but more than two-thirds of counties have not yet taken advantage of the free offer. As we have witnessed in recent weeks, the challenges of COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future. Just last week Alameda County Jail had an outbreak of more than 100 residents and 40 staff - one of whom had 13 grandchildren.
We know now more than ever that this terrible virus is not going anywhere. And mask-wearing by staff and residents in the appropriate circumstances is a key public health measure that will help us control viral spread in jails. Securing a sufficient supply of masks now – or stockpiling for the days ahead – is smart.
If you have not yet ordered free medical masks under this program, please order here, or contact your state executive letting them know the number of jail beds and jail staff along with the delivery address, and the masks will be shipped to you ASAP. If you have already ordered masks you can see delivery information here. Finally, you can find more technical information about the mask here.1 For any questions, please contact Pat Royal at NSA.
Marc F. Stern, MD, MPH
NSA COVID-19 Medical Advisor
1Please note that these medical masks are constructed with a thin metal wire across the nose piece to improve the effectiveness of the mask.