Ramsey County Sheriff's Office request donations of homemade masks for most vulnerable community members

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office is requesting donations of homemade face masks for the most vulnerable people in the community, according to a news release. 

Donated face masks will be distributed in high-density high-rises and other multi-family dwellings where the potential for community spread of COVID-19 is extremely high. 

“Narrow hallways, small elevators, and shared spaces— including mail rooms, laundry facilities, community rooms, and worship areas— all make social distancing in these confined living spaces very difficult if not impossible,” Sheriff Bob Fletcher said. “These large buildings are home to our most vulnerable citizens, including elderly, disabled, and immigrant communities with limited English proficiency. Many residents do not have access to the internet and rely on person-to-person verbal exchanges for information.”

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Ramsey County is home to many high-density and multi-family buildings, including Skyline Tower and Mt. Airy. Skyline Tower is the largest single federally subsidized building in Minnesota and also the largest in the United States west of Chicago.

“Should the virus penetrate a high-density multi-family building, it will quickly become a super accelerator. We’re asking for community donations of homemade masks to help prevent outbreaks in these confined living spaces to save lives, reduce treatment costs, free-up hospital beds, and protect medical personnel," Fletcher said. 

"Protecting the vulnerable will ultimately save our first responders and medical personnel from additional exposure. This helps flatten the curve so that other patients have access to the necessary medical services."

To facilitate compliance with the governor's stay at home executive order, the sheriff's help team— made up of first responders with appropriate safety equipment— can pick up donations of homemade masks outside of homes or businesses. Those wanting to donate can either email or call 651-448-3874. 

The sheriff's office said pick-ups can scheduled Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.