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BEL AIR, MD — The Harford County Health Department is hosting a drive-thru mask event for Harford County businesses Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Businesses will be able to visit 120 South Hays Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday to pick up their masks.
The free event is held in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health as part of its campaign to promote mask usage.
"Wearing a mask can help slow the spread of COVID-19, and we welcome any business who is in need of masks for their staff or guests to drive-thru on Wednesday," Acting Harford County Health Officer Marcy Austin said in a statement. "We are pleased to be able to distribute masks for our local community, without charge, to continue with safety precautions against COVID-19."
There are 3,430 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Harford County as of Tuesday, Oct.20, according to state health officials.
The timing of Wednesday's drive-thru mask giveaway was intentional, local health experts said, as the flu season typically begins in October.
"Especially with the upcoming flu season, your actions can define the health of our community," Harford County Health Department Emergency Coordinator Lisa Swank, R.N., said in statement.
"The Harford County Health Department is encouraging all residents to continue to wear masks and social distance, especially during flu season," Swank said. "This is why we are providing Harford County businesses with free masks to distribute to their patrons and employees during this time of year."
The most recent flu surveillance report from the Maryland Department of Health shows no positive test results for influenza so far, although there was one influenza-related hospitalization for the week ending Oct. 3, officials said.
In early October, Gov. Larry Hogan said Maryland was shifting its coronavirus strategy as flu season arrives, bracing for a potential hospital surge and ramping up its flu testing capacity.
Both coronavirus and influenza are contagious illnesses that can be spread through respiratory droplets.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing face coverings in public, maintaining 6 feet of distance and frequently washing hands to prevent the spread of illness.
People in Maryland are required to wear face coverings inside most businesses if they are older than 2. Among the exceptions are those who have medical conditions that preclude mask wearing and patrons who are eating and drinking.
The Harford County Health Department at 120 South Hays Street is hosting its drive-thru mask event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21.