Dane Co. distributes 100,000 face masks to local organizations amid COVID-19 pandemic

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County leaders announced Wednesday a new program that will provide 100,000 free face masks community organizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Dane County departments, including the departments of Public Health, Emergency Management, Human Services and the Dane County Library System have set up a system to gather and distribute cloth masks to organizations that can help distribute them to undeserved communities and people who may not be able to afford masks.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said the masks will be distributed to community centers, churches, schools, food pantries and other community-oriented groups. In total, the county has partnered with nearly 100 groups to help with distribution.

“Dane County has worked with our community partners to set up the most extensive free mask distribution system in the region,” Parisi said. “We want to keep people safe, especially those already struggling to meet basic needs like food and shelter. This effort will improve local access to masks and help our community slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The Department of Emergency Management is handling the distribution. According to a news release, roughly 65,745 of the 100,000 masks are already out in the community.

Dane County has spent $150,000 on masks as of Wednesday morning.

The county is also working with Dane County Mask Makers to coordinate small mask orders and individual mask requests, according to the release. The organization is a group volunteers who sew and donate cotton face masks throughout the community.

The announcement comes days after a county-wide mask mandate went into effect on Monday.