County covers face mask specifics

County health officer recommends face coverings for the public and for essential workers in three key areas

VISALIA – Masks have become the primary piece of protection during the pandemic, but many residents are still confused on who should wear them and when.

In her most specific directive since the shelter-in-place order began, Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught has released a new guidance regarding face coverings, or masks, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have recommended that members of the public should cover the mouth and nose to prevent inadvertently spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Dr. Haught urges community members to wear these face coverings in three main settings: While inside of or waiting in line to enter essential businesses and other businesses or facilities, while providing essential government functions and when seeking health care from health care facilities, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation or other shared transportation.

The guidance also advises employees, contractors, owners, employees at all essential businesses, and those who operate public and shared transportation, as well as workers engaged in minimum basic operations, essential infrastructure work, and essential government functions to wear a face covering in areas where the public is, or is likely to be, present and at any time when others are nearby. Wearing a face mask is most effective when used with social distancing and hand and surface hygiene.

Individuals are asked to ensure effective use of face coverings by washing their hands after putting on and taking of the face covering.

Essential businesses and their employees are asked to utilize face coverings when providing services to the public.

Essential businesses are asked to post signage informing the public of the requirement to use face coverings.

Masks or face coverings can be homemade, store-bought, a bandana, or cloth.

Key exception: children ages two or younger should not wear a face mask.

One key transmission method for the COVID-19 virus is respiratory droplets that people expel when they breathe or sneeze. Individuals have been found to be infected with COVID-19 and not have any symptoms, meaning they are asymptomatic, but they can still be contagious.

People can also be infected and contagious 48 hours before developing symptoms, the time when they are pre-symptomatic. Many people with the COVID-19 virus have mild symptoms and do not recognize they are infected and contagious, and they can unintentionally infect others.

CDC, CDPH, and TCPH believe that wearing a face covering, when combined with physical distancing of at least 6 feet and frequent hand washing, may reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus when in public and engaged in essential activities by reducing the spread of respiratory droplets.

Read the full guidance at : www.tchhsa.org/ncov.

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