The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is urging residents to continue wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands frequently to slow the spread of COVID-19.
As we have learned over the past year, COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets expelled by an infected person. Smaller droplets and particles can remain suspended in the air for many minutes to hours and over long distances (usually greater than 6 feet).
This is why wearing a mask, in addition to physical distancing, is so important. These two actions together help prevent people from both getting and spreading COVID-19.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control released new recommendations on masking. Masks work best when everyone wears them consistently and correctly over their mouth and nose; however, not all masks offer the same protection.
When choosing a mask, make sure that: 1) it has two or more layers of breathable, tightly woven material; 2) it completely covers your nose and mouth; and 3) it fits snugly against your face, including on the sides, and has no gaps.
It is also recommended that it has a nose wire to keep air from leaking out of the top of the mask, which will also help reduce fogging if you wear glasses.
If you need or want extra protection or a better fit, CDC recommends either “double masking” by wearing two masks (a disposable mask underneath and a cloth mask on top) or wearing a cloth mask combined with a fitter or brace. It is not recommended to double mask with a KN95 or two disposable masks as this does not improve the fit.
As a reminder, a mask is NOT a substitute for physical distancing. Masks are to be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart when around people who don’t live with you, whether you are inside or outside.
“We encourage everyone to be loving to others and always wear a mask when out of your house, keep a distance of at least six feet from people that don’t live with you, and stay home and away from others if you are sick or are currently under isolation or quarantine,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.
“These are simple actions that will slow the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and help end this pandemic,” Ferrer said. “In these times of vaccine scarcity, these are the most effective tools that we each have to protect each other as we continue to get more vaccine for everyone who wants it in the county.”
Along with social distancing, Public Health officials urge everyone to stay safe by connecting virtually with friends and family that don’t live with you. Being around people who don’t live with you puts you and them at a greater risk for COVID-19 because people can be infected with this virus and not yet know it.
It is critically important that people not attend or host any private gatherings and not leave their home if they are experiencing symptoms of illness, have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have been in close contact with or likely have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19.
As a reminder, outdoor dining at restaurants, wineries, and breweries is allowed with safety measures in place to decrease the increased risk of spread since customers are permitted to spend time unmasked at these businesses. Indoor dining is not permitted.
All employees that can come in contact with customers must wear both a face covering and a face shield at all times. Persons who do not live in the same household are not allowed to share a table.
All establishments must post signage to this effect and verbally inform customers that everyone sharing a table must be from the same household. Tables must be positioned at least 8 feet apart and televisions or other screens must be turned off.
For more information, visit the L.A. County Public Health website.