(From the Garrett County Joint Information Center Team)
The coronavirus is something so new that researchers are still learning about how it is transmitted and how we can reduce the spread of the virus. That’s why the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) change as they adjust to the new understandings.
“Because our understanding of the coronavirus is changing so rapidly, it’s extremely important to stay current by viewing the most up-to-date information from the most reliable sources,” said Garrett County Health Officer, Bob Stephens. “An article that had the most current information when it was published several weeks ago may not have accurate information today.”
For example, researchers recently learned it is likely that persons who never have symptoms (asymptomatic) and others who haven’t developed symptoms yet, are carriers and can spread COVID-19 to others. This is why the CDC is now encouraging, and Governor Hogan is requiring, the wearing of cloth face coverings in public.
“It’s important to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus,” said Stephens. “Wearing a face covering should not replace other precautions such as hand washing and social distancing. And, like other safety equipment, a face covering will only give you the best protection if you use it correctly.”
Improper use of a face covering could increase the risk of becoming infected and spreading the disease to others. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of wearing face coverings:
- Use a homemade cloth face covering.
- Put on the face covering before entering a new environment, making sure it fits snugly and is covering your mouth and nose.
- Complete your activity without touching the face covering or any part of your face.
- Take the face covering off from the back when done with the activity – touching the front could contaminate your hands.
- Drop it straight into your washing machine after coming home.
- Wash your hands after handling the face covering.
- Use a medical-grade mask such as an N95. (Save these for health care workers and first responders.)
- Touch or move the face covering while wearing it.
- Wear the face covering in any position other than over your mouth and nose.
- Talk on your cell phone while wearing the face covering.
- Take the face covering off from the front.
- Put the face covering down on other surfaces after taking it off.
- Put a face covering on a child under the age of 2 or someone with breathing problems.
Follow these guidelines closely to keep you and your family safe.
Face coverings can easily become contaminated with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases such as the flu, making it critical to protect your hands and face from infected droplets. If these germs get on the inside of your covering, they become trapped next to your face resulting in an increased risk of inhalation and infection.
It is also possible for the virus to transfer to your hands if you touch a contaminated part of your face covering. Once the virus is on your hands, it can be transferred to your face and other objects. This is one of the reasons why hand hygiene is so important whether you are wearing a face covering or not.
The public is asked to show their support for the safety of the Garrett County community by wearing a face covering, snapping a selfie, and sharing it to their social media with the tag #CoverGC.
Remember that face coverings are only the most recent guidelines and you must continue to regularly wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, maintain your social distance, and stay diligent in protecting yourself and others against COVID-19.
For the most current and accurate information about the situation, please refer to the following:
- Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard: garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/. Local information as well as links to State and National resources.
- Health Department Frequently Ask Questions Page: bit.ly/covid-19-answers
- Garrett County COVID-19 Medical Hotline: 301-334-7698
- Garrett County Government’s COVID-19 Page: garrettcounty.org/covid-19
- The local Volunteer/Donation Portal: garretthealth.org/community