CHICAGO — A local health organization has received thousands of masks and another valuable tool in the fight against COVID-19.
In January, the Biden administration started distributing millions of masks to pharmacies and health centers across the country.
Late last week, the PCC Community Wellness Center, with locations across Chicagoland, received thousands of masks and a Covid-fighting drug not yet well known.
During their daughter’s appointment at PCC Community Wellness Center, Joe and Tiffany Martinelli were the first to receive free N-95 masks supplied by the federal government.
“We need to remain vigilant and keep our masks on so we can hopefully defeat this,” Joe Martinelli said.
PCC has received a shipment of 10,000 N-95 masks and about 900 Covid home test kits to pass out to patients and families.
Patrice Lassa is an operations quality specialist at PCC Community Wellness Center.
“We’re really excited that we can give these test kits and these N-95 masks to our patients and in the future, hopefully, a community event once the supply catches up,” Lassa said.
As the state prepares to lift the indoor mask requirement in many spaces and numerous schools make masks optional, Dr. Paul Luning, PCCs chief medical officer, believes it’s too soon to let masks go completely.
“Let’s look at the indicators and when the numbers tell us there’s not as much Covid around, then yes, it makes sense to take off the masks indoors,” Luning said.
While the masks are helpful, PCC has received another tool to help fight Covid; a new drug called Paxlovid used to help high-risk patients in the early stages of the Covid infection.
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“People are unaware of the benefits of it or to even ask,” Lassa said.
Dr. Luning says the first patient he prescribed Paxlovid to felt better within twelve hours of taking the medication, which he says is about 88% effective in preventing hospitalization and death.
“We want to get the word out that there is a treatment we want people who test positive even at home to call us or to call their health care provider as soon as possible,” Luning said.