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Calaveras County Recommends Public Mask Use During COVID-19 Outbreak

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San Andreas, CA – Calaveras County’s Health Officer is recommending using masks while out in public during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Citing state guidance on face coverings, Dr. Dean Kelaita recommends them, especially while doing essential activities in public. In a written statement released today, he noted, “The general public is asked not to use medical-use face masks because they are in short supply and should be reserved for health care workers.” Instead, Dr. Kelaita instructs on ways face coverings can be made.

The doctor also stressed, “A face covering does not take the place of existing guidance about social distancing and handwashing.” He continues that the state “does not mandate that face coverings be worn by the public at this time.”

Dr. Kelaita’s entire statement can be read below and click here for the state guidelines regarding face coverings:

On April 1, 2020, Calaveras County Health Officer, Dean Kelaita, MD in coordination with Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Public Health Officer and Director, Sonia Andell, MD, MPH, released guidance on face coverings for the general public. The guidance instructs the use of cloth face coverings for the general public when outside the home conducting essential activities. A face covering does not take the place of existing guidance about social distancing and handwashing. It does not mandate that face coverings be worn by the public at this time.

A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand, household items such as scarfs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels can also be used. A face covering is not a medical face mask. The general public is asked not to use medical-use face masks because they are in short supply and should be reserved for health care workers.

The primary role of a face covering is to lessen the release of something that can spread disease such as COVID-19 when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Cloth face coverings should not take the place of physical distancing, washing hands, and staying home when ill, but may be helpful when combined with these methods. There is limited evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission.

Wear a cloth face covering when doing essential activities, such as shopping at the grocery store. Wearing a cloth face covering does not get rid of the need maintain physical distancing from others. This guidance is for the general public, those who wear protective gear as part of their employment should continue to adhere to the safety regulations of their position.

It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering often, after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be washed with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face. Discard cloth face coverings that: no longer cover the nose and mouth, have stretched out or damaged ties or straps, cannot stay on the face, and/or have holes or tears in the fabric.

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