Health Dept. urges use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19

REGION – On Wednesday, April 8, the Vermont Department of Health recommended that all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This latest advice is based on new data about how COVID-19 can spread before a person develops symptoms. A mask helps protect others around you if you are infected and don’t know it.

While the face covering is one more precaution, the Health Department states that it is not a substitute for physical distancing and other prevention measures. The public is still urged to stay six feet away from others, even while wearing the face mask.

The Health Department also urges Vermonters to refrain from using surgical masks or N-95 respirators, as these types of masks are critical supplies that must be reserved for health care workers and first responders.

Vermonters should wear cloth face masks when doing essential tasks such as going to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s office, or hospital, or when they are walking on a busy and crowded street or riding a bus or taxi service. Essential workers should also wear masks in business settings where they are not able to maintain at least six feet distance between themselves and others.

A face covering can be any well-secured cloth that covers your nose and mouth. The cloth coverings should fit snugly against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric while still allowing breathing without restriction, and be able to be machine washed and dried without damage of change to shape.

The CDC has instructions on making your own coverings, including some that don’t require sewing. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

People who shouldn’t wear masks include children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, and anyone who is unable to remove the mask without assistance.

For more information, go to www.healthvermont.gov/COVID-19.

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