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Thousands of homemade masks donated in Minnesota to help nursing homes combat coronavirus

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Thousands of face mask donations poured into fire departments across Minnesota on Saturday as part of a statewide drive to collect gear in the battle against coronavirus.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan had announced the drive for April 25 for Minnesotans to deliver homemade masks to their local fire station to be used for congregate-care facilities for their employees and residents to wear.

"While this masks drive does generate homemade masks that are donated for those most at risk, it also highlights the fact that folks should be wearing masks, not only for their protection but also to protect those around them.” St. Paul Fire Department's EMS Deputy Chief Ken Adams told FOX9.

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All 775 fire departments in Minnesota participated in the drive, according to state officials. In St. Paul, the fire department reported collecting more than 7,300 masks on Saturday alone.

Thousands of homemade masks were dropped off at fire stations across Minnesota on Saturday as part of a statewide drive to help battle coronavirus.

Thousands of homemade masks were dropped off at fire stations across Minnesota on Saturday as part of a statewide drive to help battle coronavirus. (FOX9)

Other departments reported receiving donations ranging from hundreds to thousands of masks with a range of colors and designs.

"With the virus having asymptomatic, showing no symptoms at all, it's just a good step to take, to ensure that someone that doesn’t know they’re sick, isn’t going to infect people," Adams told FOX9.

While wearing masks in Minnesota isn't a requirement, officials said homemade masks help protect those around you and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Other states in the Midwest such as Illinois and Michigan require people to wear masks in public.

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Minnesota reported 28 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Saturday, the biggest one-day spike so far.

The state’s death toll from the disease is now 272, with at least 3,602 positive cases, according to FOX9.

Of those Minnesotans who have died, at least 190 were residents of long-term care facilities, health officials said.

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"It will get better, we will get over this," Adams said. "And we just hope everybody stays safe and stays healthy."