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Free face masks available at county health departments

Health officials with the state ordered around 5 million masks to give to Tennesseans for free.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knox County Health Department announced that it received masks from Tennessee health officials on Wednesday. They will begin distributing them for free.

Anyone who wants a mask should visit the main KCHD building at 140 Dameron Avenue during business hours. Officials said that there will be signs outside the building to direct people. One mask will be given per person, and people must be present to receive a mask.

The local county health departments will also be distributing free face masks, according to Corie Gouge, spokesperson for the East Regional Health Dept. which includes many of the counties surrounding Knox Co.

Gouge said if you want a mask, you should go to your local health department and look for a phone number posted outside. If you can that and tell them why you are there, someone would bring you a mask. You can pick up one mask per person in your household, and everyone does not have to be present.

Dr. Martha Buchanan said the masks are a black knit material.

Officials said that the masks should not be used for medical or commercial use. They can be worn while in public and during regular activities, as recommended by health officials to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Bill Lee said he finalized the purchase on Tuesday. The masks were bought from Renfro Corp., which is headquartered in Mount Airy, North Carolina and has a distribution operation in Cleveland, Tennessee.

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