Just under 600 masks were collected at the Crookston Fire Department April 25 during the statewide homemade mask drive. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz proclaimed the week of April 18-25 as Homemade Mask Week in the state and asked fire departments to staff stations so residents could drop off their homemade cloth masks on April 25.

The masks were meant for fire departments to distribute to local nursing homes, homeless shelters, veterans’ homes and group homes. The State Fire Marshal said the mask drive was to highlight the importance of workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control have specific guidelines online for residents interested in making masks and those guidelines were shared with Minnesota emergency managers. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings to protect others from COVID-19 and says cloth face masks can
help prevent the wearer from infecting others - especially in situations where they  may spread the virus without symptoms.