Health Department Supports the Use of Face Masks
There has been a lot of information about whether or not to wear a mask. The Darke County General Health District wants the community to know that masks can help to reduce the spread of disease. Because many positive COVID-19 individuals do not feel sick and are asymptomatic (without symptoms), masks can help prevent the spread from these presumably “healthy” individuals. Generally, it is thought that someone infected with a virus shows signs or symptoms to be considered contagious. With COVID-19, someone who considers him/herself to be healthy may actually be infected and contagious without knowing it. Studies have shown that 35% to 50% of those who test positive are in this category. These individuals with the virus who appear “healthy” can help reduce the spread by wearing a mask. It is still important to maintain 6 feet of social distancing whether or not a mask is worn. In an editorial article from The New England Journal of Medicine, May 28, 2020; “Ultimately, the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the United States and the globe, the clear evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from asymptomatic persons, and the eventual need to relax current social distancing practices argue for broadened SARS-CoV-2 testing to include asymptomatic persons in prioritized settings. These factors also support the case for the general public to use face masks when in crowded outdoor or indoor spaces. This unprecedented pandemic calls for unprecedented measures to achieve its ultimate defeat.” For information on how to wear your mask correctly, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/cloth-face-coverings-information.pdf.
We would especially recommend those who have other health conditions wear a mask in public places to further protect themselves. According to the Ohio Department of Public Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton’s revised order, those who have the following conditions are considered particularly vulnerable: chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, severe heart conditions, those who have compromised immune systems, severe obesity (BMI >40), diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and liver disease.
The Darke County General Health District has obtained several homemade cloth masks in response to our request for donations. We cannot say thank you enough to those who donated time, effort and materials for this purpose. If you are in need of a cloth mask or know someone who is, please contact the health department at 937-548-4196 ext. 232.