The state government has announced that more than three million masks will be made available to the public through its state-run testing sites, Community Health Services across Victoria, including in Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay, and on the public transport network.
Over the next four to six weeks, everyone who comes in for a free rapid antigen or PCR test will receive a box of 10 N95 masks with instructions on how best to wear them to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.
N95 and KN95 masks would also be distributed by some of Victoria’s community organizations, including at Indigenous gatherings, through a number of disability service providers and at multi-cultural and multi-faith events.
Respiratory clinics in Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay which would stock free masks include:
* Altona North Respiratory Clinic;
* Laverton Respiratory Clinic (cohealth); and
* West Footscray cohealth respiratory clinic.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said the masks would also be available at transit hubs and staffed stations, while authorized agents and some V/Line drivers will take masks with them to distribute.
“Providing free masks to those who need them most will help protect them, their loved ones and the hard-working healthcare workers in Victoria,” he said.
Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said wearing a mask would help protect all Victorians from the virus and was strongly recommended in indoor settings, when people cannot physically distance, have Covid-19 symptoms or are with vulnerable people.
“Wearing a mask, keeping up to date with your vaccinations and ensuring indoor areas are well ventilated are all steps Victorians and businesses can take to manage their own risk of COVID-19 this winter and in the future. “, she said.
Masks are still mandatory in high-risk settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and public transport.
The announcement follows the ongoing support that local public health units continue to provide to residential aged care facilities during outbreak emergency response.