Free face masks available at Benalla’s COVID testing site

Protection: Free N95 masks are available for community members who attend Benalla Health’s COVID testing clinic. Photo by Meg Saultry

Benalla Health will distribute N95 and KN95 masks at its COVID-19 testing site as part of a Victorian Government initiative to provide free masks to the community.

The initiative aims to provide the masks to help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community and help reduce the transmission of COVID and other respiratory illnesses.

Benalla Health’s executive director of clinical services, Lisa Waite, said the free masks were meant to keep the community safe.

“As we know, COVID is paramount in the community and the number of positive cases is impacting, not only the community, but also those working in health services,” Ms Waite said.

“So it’s a way to help protect people in our community and masks have been shown to be effective in stopping the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.”

You can access free masks from Benalla Health when you show up for a COVID test.

The clinic is open daily from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. by appointment only.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas announced that more than three million masks would be distributed to the Victoria community.

“Providing free masks to those who need them most will help protect them, their loved ones and the hard-working healthcare workers in Victoria,” Mr Andrews said.

Over the next four to six weeks, everyone who comes in for a free rapid antigen test or PCR test will receive a box of 10 N95 masks, along with instructions on how best to wear them to reduce transmission.

Masks will also be distributed through select community organizations in Victoria, including at multicultural and multifaith events and First Nations gatherings, as well as through a number of disability service providers.

Additionally, more masks will be available at PTV hubs and staffed stations, while authorized agents and select V/Line drivers will take masks with them to distribute as needed.

Wearing a face mask can help protect you, those around you and, most importantly, Victoria’s healthcare workers.

Face masks can prevent viruses from spreading through the air when people talk, cough, sneeze and laugh, reducing the risk of spreading or catching COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Wearing a mask is strongly recommended if you are indoors, unable to physically distance, have symptoms of COVID-19, or are around people who may be at risk for COVID-19.

Masks are still mandatory in high-risk settings, including hospitals, nursing homes and public transport.

This announcement is in addition to the ongoing support local public health units continue to provide senior care facilities during outbreak emergency response, including free rapid antigen tests, personal protection and air purifiers.

In July alone, more than 1,350 air purifiers, 1,100 boxes of masks, 140 boxes of gloves, 75 units of gowns, 40 boxes of hand sanitizer, 60 boxes of face shields and 4,000 rapid antigen tests were distributed to aged care facilities across the state. .

All Victorians are encouraged to ensure they are up to date with their vaccinations, stay home if unwell, wear a face mask, physically distance and try to maintain good ventilation.

To make an appointment at the Benalla Health COVID testing clinic, phone 03 5761 4284.

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