Free N95 masks available at local pharmacies, grocery stores

BUCKHANNON – Local grocery stores and pharmacies are now offering free N95 masks.

West Virginia governor Jim Justice recently sent out a press release to remind West Virginians the federal government is offering free N95 masks in pharmacies.

Currently, Kroger in Tennerton has a bin of N95 masks located in their pharmacy section, free for every customer. Walmart in Buckhannon offers N95 masks at the entrance with their greeters, and Walgreens recently released a statement announcing their participation in the program.

“In addition to in-store signage indicating store participation in the federal program, Walgreens will frequently update its N95 mask program store locator list as shipments arrive in-store,” the release says. You can check availability at this website:

CVS pharmacy plans to participate, but according to a voice recording, it had not received its shipment of masks as of Feb. 4.

According to an Associated Press article, N95 masks can be used by wearers more than once, noting that an N95’s reusability is determined by how often it is used.

“The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says health care workers can wear an N95 mask up to five times, but experts say how often the average person can safely wear one will vary depending on how it’s used,” the article says.

Richard Flagan, an expert on masks and aerosols with the California Institute of Technology, said the amount of time an N95 mask is worn is more important than how frequently it’s worn.

Flagan told the AP he recommends limiting the use of an N95 mask to about two or three days.

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