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GUIDANCE ON CLOTH FACE MASKS
o The novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 can be spread through saliva and nasal secretions produced by coughs, sneezes, singing, and talking.
o Social distancing measures remain the primary and most effective steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask of any sort does NOT replace state-required social distancing measures, including maintaining a > 6 – 10 feet distance from other people.
o In settings where essential activities make social distancing more difficult to maintain (i.e. performing essential services or in stores), the CDC advises that wearing a cloth face mask may help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
o Cloth masks do not have the proper design or necessary materials to filter out virus particles and therefore do not ensure you will not become infected by COVID-19.
o Wearing a cloth face mask may, however, reduce the risk of someone infected with COVID-19 unknowingly spreading the infection during the period of time after they have become infected but before they have developed symptoms (possibly 2 or more days).
o Therefore, wearing a cloth face mask in public when social distancing > 6 – 10 feet apart is difficult may help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
o When wearing a cloth face mask, you must not touch your face.
o When wearing a cloth face mask, you must still maintain social distancing.
o Do not wear surgical masks or N95 masks. Those scarce resources must be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders who face high-risk COVID-19 patients numerous times every day.
o This is a voluntary public health measure for Team Kentucky.
HOW TO WEAR YOUR FACE MASK
Cloth face coverings should—
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include multiple layers of fabric
- allow for breathing without restriction
- be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
CDC on Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies),especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
Should cloth face coverings be washed or otherwise cleaned regularly? How regularly?
Yes. They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use.
How does one safely sterilize/clean a cloth face covering?
A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a face covering.
How does one safely remove a used cloth face covering?
Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.