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East County Thursday, Apr. 9, 2020 3 months ago

Manatee County jail aids in mask production for COVID-19 protection

Masks benefit first responders and grocery workers in Manatee County.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Help with providing personal protection for first responders and other workers facing exposure to COVID-19 is coming from an unexpected place — the Manatee County Jail.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office's Uniform Production Unit, housed at the jail, is staffed with a sewing instructor, deputies and inmates, and now is producing close to 100 masks a day out of material normally used for making bed sheets. A filtered fabric is used as backing for embroidery. 

Sheriff Rick Wells also wanted to donate masks to people he considers at-risk — those in the grocery business. The sheriff's office on April 8 donated about 100 masks to Winn-Dixie and Detwiler's Farm Market in Palmetto.

"We looked at all the material we had in our uniform production shop and decided, 'Why not make masks for first responders and other workers on the front lines," Wells said in a statement.

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