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Going to the store? Cover your face, health department says

New guideline issued Wednesday aims to slow spread of coronavirus
A subway customer walks along a sparsely populated platform in New York City while covering his face because of coronavirus concerns. San Juan Basin Public Health is now recommending people cover their faces when heading to grocery stores, doctor’s offices or for other essential travel.

San Juan Basin Public Health on Wednesday recommended residents begin covering their nose and mouth with a bandanna or homemade cotton covering when leaving the home for essential travel, such as going to the grocery store or doctor’s office, to avoid the coronavirus.

The local health department says covering the face has two benefits: For those possibly with coronavirus, a covering can help filter droplets from that spread to others. And for people not infected, it can help lessen the risk of breathing in droplets.

Many times, SJBPH said in an announcement, people can be infected with the virus and have no idea, showing no symptoms.

“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,” SJBPH said in a news release.

The health department recommends a bandanna or homemade cotton covering – not hospital-grade masks that should be reserved for health care workers and those who are sick.

A cover is also a good way to remember not to touch one’s face, an important health tip to avoid contracting the coronavirus. And, SJBPH said it sends a message to the community that people are taking the outbreak seriously.

Tips for wearing a face mask: Tie long hair back, wash your hands, secure mask over mouth and nose, don’t touch face or face mask, leave mask on until you can safety remove it and remove mask if you come into contact with someone sick.

Tips for removing: Wash your hands, grab the mask by the area over your ears, take cover off, wash or sanitize mask then wash your hands again.

Wearing a mask should go along with other health guidelines, such as keeping a distance of 6 feet from others, avoiding unnecessary travel and staying at home as much as possible.

Poll: Are you covering your mouth and nose to avoid the coronavirus when leaving home for essential travel, such as going to the grocery store or doctor’s office?

Yes - 1345 - 63.15%

No - 785 - 36.85%

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