Local Organizations Encourage the Community to Wear Cloth Masks

BUCYRUS/GALION – Avita Health System, Crawford County Emergency Management Agency, Crawford County Public Health, and the Galion City Health Department are asking the community to use cloth face coverings in public settings.

“As an additional public health measure, we are asking our communities to follow CDC guidance by wearing cloth face coverings while doing essential tasks,” says Kathy Durflinger, Chief Nursing Officer at Avita Health System. “While these masks do not necessarily block droplets, they have been shown to shorten the distance that droplets may travel. When used in conjunction with social distancing and proper hand hygiene, cloth face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community members should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. These settings include essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. Guidelines to make sewn cloth face coverings and quick cut t-shirt coverings are available on the CDC website at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Bandanas are also an acceptable face covering for public use.

Trish Factor, Health Commissioner for the Galion City Health Department explains, “When we’re out for essentials, like going to the grocery store, wearing a mask can make a difference in us spreading our respiratory droplets to other people. Even people who are showing no symptoms of COVID-19 may spread the disease; therefore, wearing a mask is an important step in protecting others throughout our community.”

Factor adds “It’s also important to remember that wearing a mask is not a substitution for social distancing.”

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) advises the community not to touch the mask while wearing it and to wash hands before putting it on and immediately after removal. While wearing a cloth mask, the nose and mouth should both be completely covered, but breathing should not be restricted. The mask should fit snugly, yet comfortably on the face. The CDC states that cloth face coverings should not be used on children under the age of 2 or “anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.”

Cloth masks, whether sewn, quick cut, or a bandana should have multiple layers of fabric. Tightly woven fabric that allows minimal light to shine through is preferable. Cloth masks should be washed routinely after each public use. The CDC encourages laundering in the washing machine and dryer as a sufficient method to properly clean and sterilize cloth face coverings.

Healthcare workers and first responders are advised to follow CDC guidance of wearing surgical masks or N95 respirators when caring for patients. Cloth masks are being utilized in non-patient care areas and by local essential agencies. To donate hand sewn cloth masks to Avita, call 419-468-0727. To donate hand sewn cloth masks to essential public services, such as the police or fire department, call the Galion City Health Department at 419-468-1075 or Crawford County Public Health at 419-562-5871.

To answer questions and address concerns about COVID-19, Avita’s Coronavirus Information Hotline is available from 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday – Friday at 419-468-0800. In case of emergency, call 911.