SM County: Guidelines for Effective Mask Use!

SM County: Guidelines for Effective Mask Use!

San Miguel County Public Health puts out the word: CDC updates guidelines for mask selection and use to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date schedule of vaccine clinics, visit the vacine page on the county COVID website.

For up-to-date coronavirus information, visit here.

For free coronavirus testing opportunities, visit here.

For all Covid blogs from San Miguel County, go here.

Last week, San Miguel County Public Health extended the county-wide public health order requiring masks in public indoor places. The order is now set to expire on Monday, February 28 at 11:59 pm MST with an option for early termination if decision-making metrics improve.

Several weeks ago, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidelines and recommendations surrounding the proper use of masks in limiting COVID transmission. The new guidance clarifies that certain types of masks and respirators are more effective than others in protecting oneself against COVID-19.

“We have seen success in reducing transmission in areas where masks are worn consistently and correctly,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “Given the presence of the highly contagious omicron variant, we must continue to protect our essential services, schools, and workplaces by using proven methods to keep our at-risk population safe, our children in school, and our businesses open.”

According to the CDC, the effectiveness of masks varies based on factors such as materials and the number of layers. Respirators provide the highest level of protection by filtering the air and fitting closely on the face to filter out particles, including the virus that causes COVID-19. They can also contain droplets and particles an individual breathes, coughs, or sneezes out so they do not spread them to others.

Various types of masks recommended include:

• N95 Respirators: When worn correctly, a well-fit N95 respirator offers the highest level of protection and filters 95% of particles. No longer in short supply, N95s are being distributed for free across the country.

• KN95 respirators: When worn correctly, KN95 respirators are typically comfortable and easy to wear for longer durations as they loop around the ears and provide more protection than typical disposable medical masks. These respirators can be picked up daily in Mountain Village, Norwood, and Telluride free of charge.

• Disposable Masks: Often referred to as loop, surgical or medical procedure masks, when properly fit to prevent leaks, these masks can be combined with an additional mask for better fit and extra protection.

• Cloth Masks: These masks can be made from a variety of fabrics and many types are available though they provide the least protection of the listed types of masks. If opting for a cloth mask, ensure that it fits properly over nose, mouth, and chin, and consists of multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric, includes a nose wire, and blocks light when held up to a bright source. For added protection, consider layering with a disposable mask.

“To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can, that fits well and that you will wear consistently,” states the CDC face covering webpage.

KN95 respirators are now widely available through San Miguel County and can be picked up at the following locations:

• Mountain Village Town Hall from 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday

• Telluride Resort Store on the Mountain Village Gondola Plaza from 8:30 am to 5 pm every day of the week

• Norwood’s Lone Cone Library from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday

• Town of Norwood from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday

• Telluride Visitor Center from 9 am to 5 pm every day of the week

• Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library during business hours

Public Health has confirmed 47 new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from January 21 through 27. As of release time today, there are 75 active local cases, all actively contagious cases are directed to isolate at the onset of symptoms or receipt of a positive COVID test result.

There have been 2,565 total COVID cases among residents including 1 current hospitalization and 7 COVID-related deaths.

To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, including demographic and residency data for local cases, please visit the SMC COVID-19 dashboard.

Power The Comeback:

Crowded places, covered faces
Get vaccinated
Stay home when sick and get tested

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