More than 80,000 masks for COVID-19 protection will be soon distributed to the public after a local agency received the donation from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“We received 88,000 masks,” said Kevin Enloe, director of the McAlester/Pittsburg County Office of Emergency Management. “And we will be distributing those at a couple of different events.”
The Choctaw Nation Emergency Management team received 582,000 washable, cloth face masks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is delivering the masks to southeastern Oklahoma county offices for public distribution.
According to the tribe, each county devised a plan to distribute the masks, including public pick-up at retail locations and non-profits, or scheduling drive-through events at emergency management offices.
“We are going to be pushing them out as we are doing the vaccines, to healthcare workers, first responders and as we go through the phases,” Enloe said.
He said the public will also have opportunities to pick up masks at a drive-through event that is still being planned soon after January 1.
“It’s going to be right after the first of the year,” Enloe said. “We’re still trying to nail down that date. We don’t know if we’ll do it the first week of the new year, but that’s our goal.”
The emergency management director also said the masks will be pushed out to area senior citizen centers for distribution.
Enloe also gave an update on vaccine distribution in Pittsburg County.
“It’s going good so far. We are working Phase 1 still and getting ready to go into Phase 2 which will be first responders and some more medical personnel,” Enloe said.
According to Enloe, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was picked up Monday by Pittsburg County Health Department officials.
With the masks, Enloe said the date for public distribution will be made public once the details are ironed out.
“The partnership with the Choctaw Nation is a very great partnership and it’s a much-needed gift that the tribe has provided to all the citizens of Pittsburg County to be able to pick up those masks and use them in a time such as this,” said Enloe. “It’s greatly appreciated.”
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