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The City of New Orleans Health Department and New Orleans Public Library will Once Again Partner to Give Away Masks to the Public

From Dr. Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans Health Department Director: Many N95s currently in circulation in the US right now have not been NIOSH approved. The masks are still protective, though they may not meet the strict criteria set for N95s by NIOSH. Everyone should assess their comfort level and need for protection when selecting masks. Current CDC guidance does not specify a type or level of mask for the general public.

The New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) and the NOLA Public Libraries (NOPL) have once again joined forces to fight COVID. In this case, NOHD and NOPL will give away N95 masks at six local libraries on a first-come, first-serve basis on Wednesday, December 29.

“Once again, we ask the public to do their civic duty and help stop the spread. Daily COVID cases have shattered records set in the early days of the pandemic, and hospitalizations are rising again as they did over the summer with the Delta variant.  Masks are critical to a strong defense against the virus, and wearing one is an easy and effective way to stop the spread.”, said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, NOHD Director.

The CDC recently changed guidelines on isolation and quarantine that stress regular mask-wearing in public; NOHD strongly urges the use of high-quality masks like surgical masks, N95, and KN95 to best stop the spread of this disease.

Over the Christmas weekend, Orleans Parish reported 2,400 new coronavirus cases, breaking the record for the most cases over one weekend since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Similar to last week’s event, the masks will be handed out on a first-come, first-serve basis until supplies run out.  In order to provide a wider distribution among residents, we are limiting it to ONLY TWO MASKS PER PERSON.

Distribution is scheduled to take place Wed., Dec. 29, at the following locations from 12 pm-6 pm or until supplies run out:

  • Main Library, 219 Loyola Avenue
  • Algiers Regional Library, 3014 Holiday Drive
  • East New Orleans Regional Library, 5641 Read Boulevard
  • Milton H. Latter Memorial Library, 5120 St. Charles Avenue
  • Robert E. Smith Library, 6301 Canal Boulevard
  • Norman Mayer Library, 3001 Gentilly Boulevard

Testing sites are available at and more locations are planned for later this week.  Data shows that for those who are already fully vaccinated, a booster shot has been shown to provide strong protection against Omicron. Although there are reports of breakthrough cases, data show that vaccinated people who become infected are less likely to suffer severe disease leading to hospitalization or death.

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