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County receives 100,000 masks for construction workers

The county is especially concerned about the number of coronavirus cases in the Latino community.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County and Atrium Health have partnered to give 2 million masks out to the community for people who need them and to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Friday, the partnered with Marand Builders to donate masks to small construction businesses.

Construction is an essential job where it's harder to social distance. Health officials hoping to keep coronavirus numbers down within the group of people putting new buildings up in the Queen City.

“We have 100,000 masks to give away,” said Francisco Alvarado, CEO and President of Marand Builders.

There have been coronavirus outbreaks at construction sites in Charlotte throughout the pandemic. Mecklenburg County officials are especially concerned about the Latino community.

RELATED: NC sees spike in COVID-19 cases in Hispanic population

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“You find a lot of the minorities doing a lot of the labor work and service jobs, so they've been more exposed and if they are not disciplined in wearing masks, their rate of exposure is much higher,” said Alvarado.

The latest data from the county shows that about three in 10 reported cases are Hispanic people, and most of them are younger adults, likely working essential jobs. 

This free mask giveaway targeted smaller construction businesses that otherwise may not be able to provide their employees with masks. The county has been working to get information out into the Latino community, so facts and tips included in every bag.

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“When they travel to the construction site many times, they're in the same cars, so we’re telling them to use masks. When they get together to have lunch, use social distancing, when you go to the gas station use hand sanitizer,” said Alvarado.

For some who stopped by to pick up masks for their company, slowing the spread is personal. One woman is watching as her grandfather battles coronavirus in the hospital.

"It’s been emotional he gets better than goes back down, it's really important for us to be safe,” she said.

There are free masks as several YMCA and breweries across the area.

The next major mask giveaway is August 5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.