Local health officials stress importance of wearing face coverings

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — When you leave your house, you usually grab your keys, wallet, and phone. As of Monday, July 6, 2020 face masks are now something you also cannot leave the house without.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, health officials, like Debbie Vaughn, the Chief Nursing Officer at Raleigh General Hospital, said masks will protect people from the virus.

“Wearing a mask not only protects yourself, but it protects others,” Vaughn said. “If you have two people not wearing a mask, your chances of contracting the virus is very very high. And it really doesn’t drop to a low until both people have masks on.”

There are several different types of mask, from homemade to N95 masks. Vaughn said wearing a mask helps stop particles containing the virus from spreading if you cough or sneeze. She also said there is a right and a wrong way to wear a mask.

“I have one on and you see it’s covered the bridge of my nose and it covers down here,” Vaughn said. “You see people wearing them below the nose, that is not an acceptable way to wear a mask because what happens you still breath in and breath out. So it has to be fully covering your nose and your mouth.”

For people with health issues who think masks will make it hard to breath, Vaughn said she personally knows what you are going through, but she still stressed the importance of wearing a mask.

“Well I can tell you I have very severe asthma and I wear it because it’s better to wear the mask than take a chance on contracting the disease and really becoming very very ill,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said when you leave a building and you are not around people, you can take off the mask.

How to clean cloth masks

Washing machine

•You can include your face covering with your regular laundry.

•Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the face covering.

Washing by hand

•Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

◦5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) household bleach per gallon of room temperature water or

◦4 teaspoons household bleach per quart of room temperature water.

•Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection. Some bleach products, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing, may not be suitable for disinfection. Ensure the bleach product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.

•Soak the face covering in the bleach solution for 5 minutes.

•Rinse thoroughly with cool or room temperature water.

Make sure to completely dry cloth face covering after washing.

How to dry

Dryer

•Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.

Air dry

•Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the cloth face covering in direct sunlight.

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