Proper Use of Cloth Face Coverings

On April 3rd, the CDC released a recommendation that the general public wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to obtain (for example in the grocery stores and pharmacies). This can be especially useful in places of significant community based transmission. State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist says, “anyone can get sick and has a chance of a serious illness with COVID-19 and anyone who is sick can pass the illness on to others.” 

Why are Cloth Face Coverings Now Being Recommended?
Recent studies have indicated that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are “presymptomatic” (people who eventually develop symptoms) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Face coverings help slow the spread.

What Type of Cloth Face Coverings Should Be Worn?
Cloth face coverings can be made from household items/made at home from common materials (t-shirt, bed sheets, etc.). There are several tutorials for no sew masks as well as several patterns for sewn masks available on the internet. The CDC has a printable tutorial on both sewn/no sew face covering construction on its website (see sources for the link). Knitted/crocheted face coverings should be lined with at least two layers of tightly woven cotton fabric and the knitted/crocheted part should be machine washable.  

How Do I Properly Wear a Face Covering?
It should fit snugly against the side of the face, it should be secured with ties or ear loops, it should include multiple layers of fabric, it should allow for breathing without restriction, it should be machine washable and dried without damage to the fabric or shape.

Face coverings need to cover both the nose and the mouth.

Wearing a face covering properly includes:

Washing your hands - or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water is not available - prior to putting on the face covering and washing your hands if you touch it while wearing it. Washing your hands - or use hand sanitizer- after removing the face covering.  

X DON’T touch or adjust the face covering once it is on, especially from the front while wearing it.  

X DON’T touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering.  

X DON’T touch your face covering or any part of your face while wearing it, because you may have touched potentially contaminated surfaces (door handles, cell phones, etc.). 

X DON’T hang the face covering around your neck or dangle it from one ear. 

X DON’T take it down and put it up multiple times while wearing your face covering. 

DO Wear Your Face Covering Like This: 
IMG_4775 IMG_4782  

DO Remove Your Face Coverings By the Straps Like This: 
  IMG_4777     IMG_4784

DON'T Wear Your Face Coverings Like This: 
IMG_4778  IMG_4786  IMG_4787

DON'T Grab Your Face Covering by the Front Like This: 

Who Shouldn’t Wear a Face Covering?

Children younger than 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove it without assistance.

Why Can’t I Wear a Surgical Mask or N95?
These are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and other healthcare first responders.

Should I Wash my Face Covering? How do I Wash it?
Yes. They should be washed at the end of every use. If you remove it before the end of the duration of time you will be using it, take care to hang it or place it on a disposable surface (such as a piece of paper that can be thrown away). Face coverings should be machine washed in a hot water cycle and heat dried.

How Do I Remove my Face Covering?
Remove it by removing the elastics or straps from behind the ears. DO NOT grab the face covering by the front to remove it. Disposable face coverings should be thrown in the trash. Cloth face coverings should be laundered. Wash your hands - or use hand sanitizer- after removing the face covering.  

Does the use of Cloth Face Coverings Mean we can Discontinue Current Distancing Guidelines?
No. It is still very important to maintain the 6-feet social distancing, continue to stay at home as much as possible and especially if you are ill, and continue frequent hand washing and disinfecting high touch surfaces and other preventive actions.

CDC Guidance on Face Coverings:
How to Properly Put On/Remove a Face Mask:
How to Make Your Own Face Covering:
Lincoln County:
Lincoln County Public Health Facebook:
Lincoln County Emergency Management Facebook: