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Cover Your Face When in Public

Last Updated on Apr 5, 2020 at 12:48pm | Communications Office
By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States, the local recommendations are updated upon receiving new insights.
Some recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 stay the same:
  • Stay at home
  • Only go out for essential reasons
  • If you go out for an essential reason, maintain 6-feet social distancing
  • Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
Now, other recommendations have been added, such as the recommendation to wear a cloth face covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Wearing a cloth face-covering in these locations is important because CDC’s studies are showing that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.
Locations where these transmissions could happen include places such as restaurants offering carryout or drive thru, grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical settings.
The recommendation for the asymptomatic general public is to use a cloth face-covering fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost such as:
  • Bandanas
  • Neck gaiters
  • Old t-shirts or cotton fabric
The recommended cloth face coverings are NOT surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.
One risk of wearing any kind of face covering is that the outside surface becomes contaminated. It is important to be very careful taking off the face covering, and putting it back on if you are reusing it. Thoroughly wash hands past the wrists each time you touch the face covering.
Visit for access to a video from the U.S. Surgeon General on how to make a homemade mask that requires no sewing and can be made in less than 3 minutes. Future opportunities to help with a volunteer effort to make masks may become available and will be posted at that location as well.
For community members with medical questions regarding COVID-19, please utilize the Garrett County Health Department website or telephone hotline at 301-334-7698.
For emergencies please dial 911.