May 6th, 2020
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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced a new initiative to distribute face coverings to county residents. This plan is part of the County Executive's ongoing efforts to improve and protect the safety and wellbeing of our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working with city, town and village governments, County Executive Bello is coordinating the distribution of more than 1 million masks from the county's stockpile to local residents. Monroe County's acquisition of additional face coverings was made possible through a reimbursable expense covered under the federal CARES Act.
"We have preached the importance of regularly washing or sanitizing your hands, maintaining a physical distance of at least six feet from others and wearing a face covering when out in public for nearly two months. Today, we are taking it a step further by working with our local government partners to provide residents with more of those much-needed face coverings free of charge. This is a necessary step in our continued efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public health of our community. I want to thank Congressman Morelle and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their hard work passing the CARES Act, which made this initiative possible," said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.
Face coverings are going to continue to play a vital role in keeping community spread low and the public safe from COVID-19 as Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region begin to slowly reopen the local economy. Through this effort, millions of face coverings will be distributed through municipal governments and community partners and will go to any Monroe County resident who is interested or in need.
"Monroe County residents have answered the call and helped to flatten our curve. But we must proceed with caution. Any lapse in social distancing, refusal to wear a face covering or other triggers could cause a spike, which we have worked so hard together to avoid. That is why we continue to recommend that you continue to wear your face covering whenever you are out in public, regardless of the situation. We hope to eliminate any excuse to not wearing a face covering with this coordinated initiative. I thank County Executive Bello and all of our government partners for their commitment to protecting our public health," said Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza.
Monroe County is in the process of distributing more than one million masks to the public with the help of local towns and villages. The first two coordinated distribution events at municipal locations will occur this Saturday, May 9 and next Wednesday, May 13. Locations and additional details can be found here. The County is also making 500,000 masks available to the City of Rochester. The City is directly distributing masks to its citizens through the mail. City residents will not need to access a distribution site.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "I was proud to secure over $128 million in funding for Monroe County in the CARES Act so that residents and workers have the tools needed to fight this pandemic and boost the local economy. With this funding we can provide all county residents with face coverings to help keep families healthy as we work to safely re-open the economy. I applaud County Executive Bello for tapping these funds to boost the county's facecovering stockpile to help safeguard local residents."
"Face coverings and PPE are critical to containing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the safety of everyone in our community during this pandemic," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "Monroe County is doing a great service by supplying each resident with essential PPE to keep themselves and their neighbors safe. I am proud to have fought for this funding in the CARES Act and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure New Yorkers have the resources needed to protect public health."
"Throughout this crisis, it has been truly heartening to witness the unprecedented partnership and coordination that our entire community has demonstrated as we come together to help each other during our collective time of need," said Congressman Joe Morelle. "Today, we see that collaborative spirit on full display, and I am proud to have played a small role by helping to secure the funds for these face coverings through the federal CARES Act. I'm grateful to County Executive Bello for his leadership and our government and community partners for their dedication to ensuring families across Monroe County have the tools and resources they need to get through this crisis safely."
Greece Supervisor Bill Reilich said, "To assist our residents who have in many cases may have been scrambling to secure masks I am thankful that the Towns throughout Monroe County will be participating in this joint effort with the County to distribute face masks in our communities. It is important in this time of crisis that we work cooperatively on behalf of our mutual constituencies. On behalf of the Town of Greece and our residents we appreciate this coordinated effort."
Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley said, "Cooperation amongst all levels of government is critical as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Communities like Irondequoit are grateful towards the County Executive and his team for procuring these masks for our residents to use. We are happy to help serve as the necessary distribution network to ensure that everyone who needs this valuable PPE has access to it."
"I want to share my deep gratitude to the County for leading this effort and ensuring our friends and neighbors can keep each other safe," said Jaime Saunders, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Rochester. "And thank you to everyone in this community who has stepped up to share resources, donate face coverings and in-kind goods, volunteer and leveraged the power of collective giving to help during this most challenging time."
With the help of community partners such as the United Way of Greater Rochester, Monroe County has also distributed over 1.1 million face coverings to area Skill Nursing and Long-Term Care facilities, Assisted and Independent Living centers, group homes, first responders, community-based and nonprofit organizations, daycare facilities and other essential businesses. This critical PPE has helped to protect countless frontline workers and essential employees as they continue to serve our community in a variety of roles.
For more information and the list of distribution events, please visit www.monroecounty.gov.