Maricopa County Public Health Reminds Residents That They Have a Role to Play in Slowing the Spread of COVID-19
Strongly recommends that all residents wear masks in public settings
PHOENIX (June 10, 2020)—As Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) and its partners continue their work to fight the spread of COVID-19, residents are reminded that they have an important role to play in slowing the spread of the disease.
“Until we have a vaccine, we cannot go back to the way things were pre-COVID-19. I know this is not what people want to hear, but in order to keep our community safe and protect our most vulnerable, we have to create a new normal,” said Marcy Flanagan, executive director of MCDPH.
“We expected to see an increase in cases with more people out and about, but the rate at which cases are increasing is concerning. And, the thing is, we have the tools to absolutely slow our rate of infection if each of us does our part,” added Flanagan.
Public Health’s tools include working with partners to educate the public, facilitate testing in high-risk settings, provide personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, and conduct investigations and contact tracing for positive COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for MCDPH, pointed out what is required of each resident in order to slow the spread.
“Regardless of age or risk, all persons in Maricopa County should take the following precautions to keep themselves, those they love and our community safe.”
- WHEN POSSIBLE - Avoid being in any setting with more than 10 people
- ALWAYS - Keep at least six feet of distance from others when out in public
- WHEN POSSIBLE - Limit contact with those outside of our household, especially if you are in a high-risk group
- ALWAYS - Stay home when you are sick
- ALWAYS – Stay home as much as possible when a household member has tested positive for COVID-19 except to get essential medical care, prescriptions, and food
- FREQUENTLY - Wash hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if unable to wash hands
- ALWAYS - Wear a mask or cloth face covering when going out in public
There is now a lot more scientific evidence that wearing a well-fitting cloth face mask can prevent COVID-19 from spreading. There is even some evidence that wearing it will decrease exposure to the person wearing the mask by about 60%, and there is lots of evidence that it protects those around the mask-wearer. That’s why Maricopa County is now requiring all employees to wear a mask when they can’t maintain 6 feet of distance at work.
MCDPH offers these tips for proper mask wearing:
- Cloth masks are most effective when they have multiple layers, have a blend of materials and fit well with no gaps around the face.
- When you are wearing a mask, be sure that you’re putting it on and wearing it properly
- Put it on and take it off—known as donning and doffing—by holding the straps to avoid contaminating your hands
- Makes sure it covers your mouth AND nose
- Wash your hands each time you touch the mask and after taking it off
- Once you’ve worn it, the mask is considered contaminated both inside and out, which is why hand washing or sanitizing is important
- If you put it down, it contaminates that surface it is on, so put it on a piece of paper or tissue and throw that away or disinfect the surface
- Avoid touching your mask as much as possible while wearing it, but carry hand sanitizer with you in case you do need to readjust it when you have to
- If your mask has a hole, gets wet, or gets visibly dirty, wear a different mask and wash the dirty one
- Wash reusable masks at least once per day with hot water and soap or detergent
“I can’t emphasize enough. It is not one tool alone that will help us slow the spread of this disease. It is only our collective efforts working together that will slow the spread,” Flanagan concluded.
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