The Town of Chapel Hill is reminding the community to wear masks in situations where social distancing is difficult.
Because it is still possible for people who have no symptoms of coronavirus infection to transmit the virus to others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores and pharmacies.
The Orange County Health Department has advised that face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing and that efforts to stay at least six feet from others should continue to be made when wearing a face covering. The department notes that both measures to slow transmission of the virus will especially help people in vulnerable groups. According to the CDC, these include people who:
- Are 65 years or older.
- Live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
- Are immunocompromised due to cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
- Have chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or liver disease.
Face covering reminders
If using a face covering, exercise care when removing the mask. Do not touch eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the covering. Wash hands immediately after.
Cloth coverings should be washed regularly, after each use if possible. Using a washing machine with hot water and regular laundry detergent should be sufficient, the Health Department has advised.
Surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders. For safety, cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age two or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove the mask without assistance. See guidance from the CDC.
Need a face covering?
Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items such as scarves and t-shirts for personal use. The CDC has produced a video showing how a mask can be created using a t-shirt and rubber bands. Learn more about making sewn and non-sewn masks.
Cloth or handmade masks should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, covering the mouth and nose.
- Be secured with ties, rubber bands or ear loops.
- Include multiple layers of fabric.
- Allow for breathing without restriction.
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.