Local Health Experts Recommend Masks
COUNTY -- The message is clear.
Shelby County Public Health and Myrtue Medical Center stand behind state and local health officials who recommend wearing face coverings to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Those words come on the heels of public comments made at a school board workshop Thursday, July 16 by residents who either questioned the need for masks, said they could possibly be detrimental to a person’s health, or said nobody really knows how they can affect someone, especially children.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, say local experts who point to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams.
Myrtue Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Barry Jacobsen and Shelby County Public Health Director Lori Hoch cite those guidelines as what Shelby County residents should follow. They let those experts speak for them.
“The CDC, U.S. Surgeon General and Iowa Department of Public Health all recommend wearing face coverings to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” officials with the IDPH said.
“COVID-19 has killed more than 14,000 Americans and more than 617,000 around the world. It has caused severe complications for many others, who may feel the effects of the disease for the rest of their lives. We do not know what the long-term effects of COVID-19 could be, if any, for those who have had it and recover.”
The CDC says face coverings are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks or raises their voice.
“This is called source control,” according to the CDC. “This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
“COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), so the use of cloth face coverings is particularly important in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”
Not detrimental, experts say
CDC and public health guidelines on the effectiveness of masks also suggest that while some people point to them causing health issues themselves, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) poisoning, experts say that’s not possible. Concerns masks impair breathing also are unwarranted.
They say masks, even the N95 type used typically by medical professionals, are not a risk to healthy people. They may be uncomfortable, but they aren’t dangerous, experts say.
That being said, there are individuals who should proceed with caution, such as those with lung disease, children younger than two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.
Who Should Wear A Cloth Face Covering?
• CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
• COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).
• While cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recognizes there are specific instances when wearing a cloth face covering may not be feasible. In these instances, adaptations and alternatives should be considered whenever possible (see below for examples).
People who know or think they might have COVID-19
• If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, do not visit public areas. Stay home except to get medical care. As much as possible stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If you need to be around other people or animals, wear a cloth face covering (including in your home).
• The cloth face covering helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It helps keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people.
Caregivers of people with COVID-19
• Those caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19 at home or in a non-healthcare setting may also wear a cloth face covering. However, the protective effects—how well the cloth face covering protects healthy people from breathing in the virus—are unknown. To prevent getting sick, caregivers should also continue to practice everyday preventive actions: avoid close contact as much as possible, clean hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; and frequently clean and disinfect surfaces.
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