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CDC Recommendation on Cloth Face Masks for Public Use

Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX (April 6, 2020) – The CDC is now recommending that persons visiting grocery stores, pharmacies, etc., wear cloth face masks to help keep those individuals who are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) from spreading the virus without knowing that they are infectious. The CDC noted that general public should use fabric coverings and not surgical masks or specialized N95 masks, which should be reserved for health care providers.

The CDC also recommends you not be lulled into a false sense of security by wearing the mask. Social distancing (6’ apart) and frequent hand-washing are still the best ways to prevent COVID-19 spread.

Many citizens are making cloth masks for free or for a small fee. There’s also a YouTube video from the CDC on how to make one that requires only a bandana, t-shirt, etc., and a couple of rubber bands – no sewing.

The CDC also recommends that the fabric used for the masks be prewashed in hot water to avoid later shrinkage, and that it be a tightly woven fabric.

Here’s some additional information on how to wear face masks.

Scott Segal, M.D., Chair of Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, conducted tests to determine what types of fabric do the best job filtering particles 0.3 to 1.0 microns in diameter, the size of many viruses and bacteria.

From a Wake Forest press release: The best-performing design was constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight “quilter’s cotton” with a thread count of 180 or more, and those with especially tight weave and thicker thread such as batiks. A double-layer mask with a simple cotton outer layer and an inner layer of flannel also performed well.

Read the entire press release and test results here.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said that while some jurisdictions are already requiring or contemplating requiring residents to wear masks in certain public areas, Hays County is still gathering information and has not made decision about if or when masks would be required.

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