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Utah aims to give coronavirus mask to every resident in state

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Utah will enter into a public-private partnership to provide a free mask for every resident in the state who doesn't have one, Gov. Gary Herbert’s office said Wednesday.

The program, titled "A Mask for Every Utahn," is an arrangement between the state and the Utah Manufacturers Association and Cotopaxi, from which it purchased 2 million face masks. The purchases will allow more than 200 state residents to continue to be employed by keeping manufacturing facilities open.

The Utah Manufacturers Association said will produce 1.5 million of the masks, while Cotopaxi will make the remaining 500,000.

“We want to do everything we can as we work together as a state to combat COVID-19,” the governor said. “Wearing a mask when we are out in public may not be convenient, but it can help slow the spread of the virus. Let’s all do our part in stopping the spread and helping to protect those around us.”

A mask will be provided to each resident free of charge. The state will also mail up to six masks to each residence upon request. Residents who already have a mask should not request one, Herbert said. Priority will be given to vulnerable populations, such as those over the age of 65.

First responders will also receive masks through state emergency management offices. Underserved populations will be given masks through nonprofit groups, particularly those that operate foodservice programs and at grocery and convenience stores.

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Utah recorded 4,495 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, including 45 deaths.