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Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce distributing free face masks

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Posted at 7:58 AM, Nov 16, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new effort is underway to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Kansas City, Missouri, by passing out face masks for free in a part of the city hit hardest by the pandemic.

Bobbi Baker-Hughes, president of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, said the city’s police department, health department and the Jackson County legislature donated a total of 8,000 disposable face masks to the chamber.

The chamber runs the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District, a special taxing district with the goal of improving the area along Independence Avenue from The Paseo in the west nearly to Interstate 435 on the east.

Employees of the community improvement district, known as urban street ambassadors, sorted the donated masks into packs of six. Over the next several weeks, they’ll pass the packs to people on the streets.

They’ll also distribute boxes of masks to businesses along Independence Avenue to share with their customers and employees.

“I think as a community improvement district, it’s our job to help improve this pandemic situation we’re in right now,” Baker-Hughes said. “By sharing the word and sharing the masks we’ve been gifted, that’s how we can reduce and ultimately eliminate this pandemic. We’re doing our part.”

Data from the city during the last two weeks of October shows COVID-19 hit the Historic Northeast part of Kansas City hard.

The 64124 zip code, which covers the majority of the Independence Avenue Community Improvement District, had 647 new COVID-19 cases in those two weeks. Surrounding zip codes had case counts of around 560 and 640. Only zip codes in the Northland part of Kansas City had numbers at a similar level for the time period.

New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows face masks are more effective than previously thought.