Routt County officials, governor ask public to wear masks when going out
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County officials have echoed Gov. Jared Polis’ recommendation Friday that the public start wearing masks to further limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners released a statement Friday afternoon that suggested everyone begin wearing masks when venturing outdoors. At this point, it is a personal choice and not a public health order.
“As more information becomes available, and we endeavor to implement as many strategies as we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we encourage the use of personal masks to help prevent the spread of the virus,” the commissioners said in a combined statement.
It was previously advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that not everyone should wear masks. That message was reversed this week as talks began at the national level about using masks for the general population.
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Following advice from Routt County Public Health Medical Officer Dr. Brian Harrington, the county suggested people wear masks primarily to increase the safety of others.
“We know that many people may be carriers of the virus and shedding it without knowing it,” the statement said. “Wearing the mask can help individuals who are asymptomatic from shedding the disease to others.”
Wearing masks is most crucial while at public places such as grocery stores, the post office and pharmacies.
The county is asking individuals to not purchase surgical or N95 masks, which are needed by health care professionals. Instead, masks for the public can be made from household items, purchased online or at local businesses.
There is already a local mask-making effort well underway. Hundreds of masks have been made by area residents and donated to grocery store clerks, postal workers and other essential workers.
Guidelines from making and wearing masks
- The mask should cover the nose and mouth, and it can be secured to the head with ties, straps, elastic or simply wrapped around the lower face.
- The mask should be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts or towels.
- It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk or linen.
- It is a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Have a bag or bin to keep cloth face coverings in until they can be laundered with detergent and hot water and dried on a hot cycle. If you must re-wear your cloth face covering before washing, wash your hands immediately after putting it back on and avoid touching your face.
- Discard face coverings that: no longer cover the nose and mouth; have stretched out or damaged ties or straps; cannot stay on the face; have holes or tears in the fabric
- If making masks for other people, please wear gloves or masks and or, wash them in hot water before distributing.
- If getting donated cloth masks, wash in hot water before wearing.
- Never share a mask.
These guidelines were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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