KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Health leaders across the Kansas City metro have said how important masking is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They say it’s even more important to wear a mask with the highly spreadable omicron variant present in Kansas City.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated guidelines and said wearing an N95 or KN95 mask offers the best protection against COVID-19, but those masks are sometimes difficult to find.

The Jackson County Health Department now has KN95 masks available and is giving them away to residents who need them.

The masks are available while supplies last and will be given to individuals who are at high-risk of COVID-19, people who live with someone who is high-risk, or those who work in a high-risk environment.

The masks are available at the following locations, until the supply runs out.

Mid-Continent Public Library (hours vary by location)

JACOHD Ralph Powell Clinic (open M-F, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.)

Once your get your KN95 mask, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • When reusing, do not invert or wear inside-out. Keep the same side facing outward.
  • Store in a dry, breathable bag (paper, mesh) to keep it clean and allow it to air out between uses.
  • Do NOT wash your KN95 mask. Washing it will damage its protective barrier.
  • Discard your KN95 if it becomes damaged, soiled, or hard to breathe through.