Using face coverings

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by the the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit (LGLDHU)

As the province is reopening, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, is recommending that “individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible, such as on public transit or in a small grocery store or pharmacy”. Check out the Province’s May 20, 2020 media release for more details. The province also created a poster for use in public settings.

When choosing a mask, it is important to use one made of cloth; we need to reserve medical masks for frontline health care workers, first responders and people who are ill and must leave their home.

When you do need to go out in public, take a cloth face covering/mask with you so you can put it on when you are potentially in close contact with other people.

To Mask or Not to Mask

There is guidance above that you can use to decide if you will wear a mask. As health officials have not made wearing a mask mandatory, it is important not to judge others for their decisions. As always, we never know someone else’s whole story, so we all need to try our best to extend kindness and recognize how our words and actions can affect others.

Things to consider when making or obtaining a cloth face covering:

  • It is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material. You can test out the fabric by trying to blow out a candle with it on. If you can, then it is too thin.
  • It can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape.
  • Fits securely with ties or ear loops.
  • Allows for easy breathing. Make sure it is not made of plastic or other non-breathable materials.
  • Includes a pocket to accommodate a paper towel or disposable coffee filter for increased benefit.
  • Has a different fabric on each side to easily identify which side faces your mouth and which side is out.

How to properly use face coverings:

  • When worn properly, a cloth face covering can reduce the spread of your own infectious respiratory droplets.
  • Wash your hands before putting it on and taking it off.
  • Make sure it fits to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps.
  • Don’t touch your face or face covering while wearing it.
  • Use your own face covering and don’t share it with others.
  • Clean surfaces that a dirty face covering touches.
  • Wash your face covering when slightly wet or dirty.
  • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine.
  • Wash with other items using a hot cycle with laundry detergent and dry thoroughly. Using Shared Laundry Facilities Factsheet.
  • Wash your hands afterwards

Who should not use face coverings:

  • Children under the age of two
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.

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