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City of Virginia Beach, Commonwealth partner to distribute masks, hand sanitizer to vulnerable neighborhoods

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 16:42:45-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The City of Virginia Beach is looking out for its most vulnerable citizens during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The city is partnering with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Commonwealth’s Health Equity Taskforce to give out 20,000 masks and bottles of hand sanitizer to communities that are most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The first several distribution events are scheduled in conjunction with a free COVID-19 testing hosted by the Virginia Beach Department of Health. More distribution events will be held throughout the month of August and will be announced as plans are finalized.

The first scheduled events are:

  • Friday, July 31 - 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Lynnhaven Baptist Church, 2744 Robert Jackson Drive
  • Saturday, Aug. 8 - 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Level Green Park, Level Green Boulevard (Between Commonwealth Drive and Clear Springs Court)

The bags, earmarked for high-risk communities, will contain two cloth masks, two bottles of hand sanitizer and literature from the Health Equity Taskforce on COVID-19 and mask washing instructions. They will also include a reminder to complete the 2020 Census and important hurricane preparedness information.

This state-local partnership, launched by Gov. Ralph Northam on May 11, is designed to increase equitable access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and public health information in underserved and historically disadvantaged communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Health Equity Leadership Task Force used a data-driven approach to identify communities across the Commonwealth most in need and at risk of contracting the virus.

Communities were identified using indicators such as chronic diseases, household income, age, disability status and other important health factors. More than 40 localities statewide have been identified for participation in the Health Equity Pilot Program, and each will receive up to 20,000 cloth masks, bottles of hand sanitizer and appropriate translated public health materials.

The City of Hampton held a similar community outreach effort earlier this month.

To date, the state has partnered with 32 localities. More than 390,000 cloth masks and 350,000 bottles of hand sanitizer have been delivered to municipalities across Virginia.

“One of the key steps in successfully stopping the spread is making sure that all of our residents are equipped with the supplies they need to keep their families safe,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer. “We’re working with the state to get PPE in the hands of folks who need it because we don’t want anyone who is trying to do the right thing to be thwarted by an inability to purchase masks or sanitizing products.”

Click here for more information on the community outreach effort.

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.