The Tennessee Valley Authority announced it is donating 50,000 N95 masks to health-care professionals to help combat the new coronavirus.

TVA spokesman Scott Fiedler said the masks will go to state emergency management agencies who will then distribute them to hospitals and medical professionals.

“We have these on hand, because as a large utility, TVA anticipates major emergencies, including infectious disease outbreaks,” he said. “... Because of this extraordinary and widespread event, we felt it was important to contribute to the greater good through this donation.”

He said each state EMA can distribute the masks as it deems necessary.

On Friday, TVA closed its day-use recreation area at Chickamauga Dam near Chattanooga and the Rockpile Recreation Area at Wilson Dam at Muscle Shoals as part of its effort to protect public health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"In addition, public restroom facilities, beaches and group pavilions at all of TVA’s recreation areas will be closed until further notice," TVA said in a release. "Visitors are asked not to bypass gates or close fences to access closed areas."

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mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.

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