COVID-19 UPDATES AND USE OF CLOTH FACE COVERINGS TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
The Monroe County Health Department is currently investigating a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a Monroe County resident. This is the fourth confirmed COVID-19 case in Monroe County; the previous three cases have recovered. In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, we must continue to follow recommendations provided by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Governor Andy Beshear, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Practicing social distancing is the most important method for staying healthy. We urge Monroe county residents to remain Healthy at Home, and leave only for essential items such as groceries and medications.
If you do have to leave the house for essential items, the CDC has updated recommendations on the use of cloth face coverings to prevent the spread of the virus. 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 greater than 6 to 10 feet distance from other people. Face coverings are to be used in addition to social distancing measures, such as when in grocery stores or pharmacies. 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. 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). Recommendations from the CDC are provided below:
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.
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.
Also, it is important to remember to 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. The usage of cloth face coverings is a voluntary public health measure for Team Kentucky. Visit CDC’s “Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19” at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html for further guidance.