It's Official: Central Oregon Health Departments Recommend Wearing Masks | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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It's Official: Central Oregon Health Departments Recommend Wearing Masks 

Hand sew 'em. Make 'em out of t-shirts. Buy one from a pro.

Many Central Oregonians have been hard at work in recent weeks, sewing masks to bolster the supplies for local health care workers. With today's announcement from the health departments in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, recommending that everyone wear masks in public, that public mask-making is going to see an uptick.

County health officials from the tri-county area echoed the advice meted out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late last week, which encouraged people to begin wearing cloth masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The health departments recommended people start wearing masks right away.

click to enlarge Capturing a sneeze in progress, demonstrating "the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth," according to the CDC. - JAMES GATHANY - CDC PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARY
  • James Gathany - CDC Public Health Image library
  • Capturing a sneeze in progress, demonstrating "the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth," according to the CDC.

“Don’t assume that wearing a mask takes the place of any of those healthy behaviors,” Muriel DeLaVergne-Brown, Crook County Public Health Administrator stated in Monday's release. “But covering up can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by the many local residents who may be carrying the virus, but are not showing signs of illness.”

The idea is that having a physical barrier between the droplets that may come out of people's mouths is better than nothing—but health officials underlined that people should not be running out to procure N-95 or surgical masks, needed desperately by workers treating COVID-19 patients. 
click image SOURCE
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“When we both cover our nose and mouth, I protect you and you protect me,” stated Dr. George Conway, Deschutes County Health Services Director in Monday's release. “As details of this virus have emerged, we now know that some people are contagious before they have symptoms and some never feel sick at all and they spread the disease before they would ever consider masking up.”

Among the reasons for wearing masks, the health departments outlined these:

-Droplets do transmit the disease, but they can be generated from talking as well as coughing. Just standing next to someone talking could spread the disease if neither party is masked.

-DIY masks can possibly provide protection to the public without impacting the supply of manufactured masks currently prioritized for healthcare workers.

-There is data that suggests that in countries where masking is encouraged for all citizens, the rate of disease transmission may be reduced by their actions.

-Wearing a mask while sick is stigmatizing for those who wear them. Universal use wouldn’t identify who was sick and who wasn’t.

People should wash their masks frequently in hot water and dried on the hot cycle.

Mask design options abound on the internet but county health officials recommend:

-Masking a mask that tightly encloses the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extending onto the cheek beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when talking or moving.

-Use mask material that is tightly woven but breathable.

-Possibly double-layer the fabric.

-Masks can be made from washable material such as fabric from a clean t-shirt or bandana.

The CDC has a number of non-sew as well as sewable mask instructions on its Cloth Face Covers page, including how to make one from a t-shirt or hankerchief.

See all our coronavirus coverage at our Coronavirus HQ.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)
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