It is not uncommon to see a person masked and gloved while walking around in public. Some of you may ask if that is necessary to protect yourself during COVID-19.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus. The CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.
More from the CDC on cloth face coverings
More from the WHO on medical masks
Wearing a face covering does not make you invincible! We still need to stay home as much as possible, especially if sick. It is essential that people continue to practice social (physical) distancing and good hand hygiene even when wearing a face-covering – including keeping 6 feet of distance between themselves and others whenever possible. A face covering is one more precaution we can take that may help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Finally, please feel free to call the GC Emergency Operations Center. They have a running list of volunteers and the Reserve Medical Corps.
Public Assistance Number: 518-635-5119
Many individuals at this time are making their own hand-made reusable face coverings. While not as effective as surgical and N-95 masks, these can still help protect you and others from sharing germs. Masks should be made with tough, durable, tightly woven material (not a knit fabric). Masks must cover both the nose and mouth to be effective. If you choose to make your own mask, many websites provide instructions.
Joann’s (located in Hudson) is giving away free material to make masks to anyone, as long as you call first.
Directions to Make a Mask
There are plenty of online tutorials on making face coverings. The most important aspect is that the fabric is of a tightly woven material. The goal of a face covering is to significantly reduce the user’s expulsion of the potential virus through their mouth or nose. That is to say, face coverings are not designed to protect the wearer, but rather protect everyone around them.
The use of gloves while in public is not necessary as long as the individual follows proper hand washing guidelines. Gloves are only needed if you plan on coming in contact with an infected person, or if you have an open, unbandaged wound on your hands. Gloves are NOT meant to replace hand washing, and often provide a false sense of security to the wearer. Most people who use gloves continue to touch other objects like a cellphone, money, and their face with the same gloves on, spreading germs and ultimately making the gloves useless.
A face covering is any well-secured paper or cloth (like a bandanna or scarf) that covers your mouth and nose.
All New Yorkers should wear a face covering when they need to be outside their home and may be closer than 6 feet from others. People who are sick should wear a face covering while at home if they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. People who are sick and who need to leave home, such as to get urgent medical care, should always wear a face covering.
If you are sick, yes. Remember you must stay home if you are sick and only leave for essential medical care or to get basic necessities such as groceries.
If you are not sick, you should wear a face covering whenever you need to leave home and might be closer than 6 feet from others. Examples include riding the subway or bus, riding in a taxi or car service, walking on a busy street, going to pharmacies and grocery stores, and going to the doctor or a hospital. Essential workers should also wear a face covering at work when they cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others.
No — as long as you maintain at least 6 feet from others. People should only do exercise that enables them to keep physical distance from others. Walking, running, and biking are good examples of activities that do not require shared equipment or close contact with others.
Yes! Wearing a face mask helps to reduce the transmission rate and exposure to the virus. We recommend that you continue physical distancing and other precautions even after you are better. This includes wearing a face covering when you are outside your home and cannot maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others. Remember if you had or may have had COVID-19, you should not leave the house except for essential medical care or to get essential needs until all the following are true:
There is a lot we are still learning about COVID-19. However, there is evidence that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus, and that droplets produced when breathing, speaking, or singing may spread COVID-19 from person to person.
Continue to stay home and practicing physical distancing and good hygiene are the most important ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. By recommending the use of face coverings, we are adding one more thing that may help reduce the spread, especially from people who are sick and do not know it yet.
Either paper or cloth face covering is fine — as long as you are covering your nose and mouth. However, please do not hoard paper masks, especially medical-grade masks, such as N95 masks or surgical masks. These masks are in very short supply and our health care providers need masks to stay healthy and to care for the most critically ill. Health care workers cannot keep distance from others, avoid sick people, or avoid contact with others’ bodily fluid such as saliva, so it is essential that we reserve masks for them.
If you are using a cloth face covering, we recommend washing once a day by hand or machine using detergent. The face covering should be fully dry before using. People should have a couple of face coverings so they can rotate for washing.
If you use a non-health care worker paper face covering, we recommend that you use a new one every day. Please don’t use health care worker masks, such as N95 or surgical masks. It is essential that we save health care worker masks for our health care workers! Use a bandanna, a scarf, or a covering that you have made yourself rather than using masks that are needed by our health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic.