Minnesotans donate thousands of homemade masks in drive to help nursing homes

Thousands upon thousands of homemade masks were donated on Saturday, as fire departments in Minnesota held a drive to collect gear in the fight against COVID-19.

In St. Paul alone, the fire department reported collecting a total of 7,348 homemade masks. Other departments reported receiving donations ranging from hundreds to thousands of masks.

While wearing masks in Minnesota isn't a requirement, officials say homemade masks help protect those around you and slow the spread.

The Minnesota homemade mask drive generated thousands of masks of all colors and designs. The masks will be going from the fire departments straight to the hands of those living and working in congregate care facilities.

"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.”

Illinois and Michigan are among the latest states to require people to wear masks in public. Right now, officials in Minnesota only recommend it. Though wearing a mask won't protect you completely from getting COVID-19, it could stop you from spreading it.

"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," explained St. Paul Deputy Chief Ken Adams.

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

The masks collected Saturday will go to local congregate care facilities that need them. If you missed the time slot and have masks to donate, you can drop them off at your local fire department.