Masks: The Next Best Thing to a Vaccine
Cloth Face Coverings
One of the most important actions we can take to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities is to WEAR A MASK!
Cloth face coverings protect other people from getting COVID-19 when we talk, cough or sneeze. Between 20-40 percent of people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms but can still spread the virus to others. Wearing a face covering can significantly reduce the incidence of COVID-19. Until a vaccine or cure is developed, face coverings are one of our best and most important defenses.
Still not sure about wearing a face covering? Check out the article by Dr. Malcolm Butler (Health Officer for Chelan and Douglas Counties). He explains how masking helps reduce the spread of COVID-19, why our understanding of COVID-19 has evolved over time, and why the recommendations have changed to encourage mask wearing.
State-wide Face Covering Order
As of Friday, June 26, all people in Washington State are required to wear a face covering when in any indoor or outdoor public area. No business may operate, allow a customer to enter a business, or conduct in-person business with a customer in any public setting unless the customer is wearing a face covering (as required, and with the exceptions outlined, in Order of the Secretary of Health 20-03.) This can be a cloth face mask, several layers of fabric tied behind the head, a bandana, or a scarf. It needs to cover your mouth and nose. A face covering is not needed when you are outside walking, exercising, or otherwise outdoors as long as you are able to stay 6 feet away from other people who do not live with you.
Children under 2 years of age should not wear a face covering. People who are unable to wear a face covering because of medical conditions are not required to wear a face covering. You can take off your mask to eat, drink, or communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. We hope people will wear a face covering to protect the health of their friends and loved ones.
How to Get a Face Covering
Please use a cloth face covering, do not use a medical mask. There is still a shortage of medical masks and we need to reserve those limited supplies for healthcare workers and first responders.
Make One at Home
A cloth face covering is easy to make at home if you don’t already have one. Take a look at the CDC tips on how to make a face covering at home, without sewing.
Connect with Sewers in the Community
The Okanogan County COVID-19 Crafter and Sewers Facebook page is a great place to link up with people who are making masks. Keep in mind they may charge a fee to cover their costs and time.
At the Food Pantries
Masks are available for low income families (at or below 200% of the federal poverty line) through Okanogan County Community Action Coalition at each of the food pantries throughout Okanogan County.
Purchase a Mask
Many companies have started selling masks online, we encourage you to purchase from local producers and suppliers whenever possible.
- Washington State Department of Health Cloth Face Coverings
- Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings from the Washington State Department of Health
- Cloth Face Coverings: The Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Them –
- The Science of Masks
- Myths and Facts about Cloth Face Coverings
- Cloth Face Coverings and Masks FAQ
- Top Ten Reasons to Wear a Mask