New San Juan Basin Public Health recommendation: Cover your face

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is recommending covering one’s nose and mouth when leaving the home for essential travel to the grocery store, doctor, or pharmacy. Safely cover your face with a bandana or homemade cotton face covering, reserving hospital grade masks for health care workers and those who are sick.

Studies indicate that there is no reason to not use a face covering as a precaution and wearing something over your nose and mouth can provide an additional layer of protection for those who must go out. Many aren’t aware they are spreading COVID-19 as they carry it without having symptoms, or their symptoms are  mild. The spread of the virus occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual, which fabrics can filter. A face covering helps lessen the risk for a healthy individual to breathe in droplets as well as lessens spread from one who may not realize they’re sick. When face coverings are combined with frequent hand washing, they help reduce the transmission of infections.

Wearing face coverings also serves as a strong message to others that these are not normal times, and that we all need to change our behaviors to stop a devastating epidemic. As more residents start wearing face coverings, this action may be regarded as an act of solidarity, showing that all residents are on board with the responsible steps needed to reduce the spread of the virus.

Also, face coverings are a good way to remember not to touch your face. Wearing a face covering will deny you access to your own face and make you conscious of how often you are tempted to touch your nose and mouth.

SJBPH continues to stress that staying at home and physical distancing (at least 6 feet away from another person) are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

How to safely adhere a face covering

  • Tie long hair back.
  • Wash your hands well.
  • Secure the face covering over your nose and mouth.
  • DO NOT touch your face or the face covering. If you do, sanitize your hands thoroughly.
  • Leave the covering on until you can safely remove it.
  • Remove your face covering immediately if it’s become wet or if you feel you’ve been in contact with someone who is sick.

How to safely remove a face covering.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Grab the face covering by the area that goes over your ears.
  • Take the covering off, keeping the outside of it away from your face, and place directly in the washing machine or a site where you will appropriately sanitize.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

For the most up to date information, visit SJBPH’s website at https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.

This story was posted on April 1, 2020.