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January 18, 2022
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COVID-19 Vaccine Information


Masking Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Masking Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

As of August 27, 2021, masks, face coverings or face shields are required in all public indoor and outdoor settings statewide.

Read the full Oregon Administrative Rule here.

Businesses and organizations may find signs to post by visiting under the "Business Signage" section.

How face coverings work

The science on COVID-19 is growing and is clear that masks, and face coverings slow the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings, made from cloth or paper, prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. There is evidence that masks protect the wearer from other people by filtering out some virus particles that can cause infection. 

Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets, but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles (also often referred to as aerosols) which increase when someone is talking, exercising and singing. Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured. Upwards of 80% blockage has been achieved in human experiments that have measured blocking of all respiratory droplets, with cloth masks in some studies performing on par with surgical masks as barriers for source control. Studies demonstrate that cloth mask materials can also reduce wearers’ exposure to infectious droplets through filtration, including filtration of fine droplets and particles less than 10 microns. (source CDC

Since people can spread the virus before symptoms start, or even if people never have symptoms, wearing a face covering can protect others around you. If everyone wears a cloth face covering when out in public, such as going to the grocery store, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 can be reduced for the community. 

Wearing a mask does not raise the carbon dioxide (CO2) level in the air you breathe

Cloth masks and surgical masks do not provide an airtight fit across the face. The CO2 escapes into the air through the mask when you breathe out or talk. CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass through mask material. In contrast, the respiratory droplets that carry the virus that causes COVID-19 are much larger than CO2, so they cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn mask. (source

How face coverings are different from other types of masks

Face covering, made from cloth or paper, are NOT the same as medical facemaks, surgical masks, or respirators (such as N95 respirators) worn by healthcare personnel, first responders, and workers in other industries. These masks and respirators are personal protective equipment (PPE).  Medical PPE should be used by healthcare personnel and first responders for their protection and not by the general public.  It is important to reserve PPE for medical providers and first responders to keep them safe as they care for people. Masks with valves are not recommended; these types of masks filter air being inhaled, but do not filter air that is exhaled and can projects germs, exposing others to COVID-19.

Face Masks


General consideration for the use of cloth or paper face coverings

When using a cloth or paper face covering, make sure:

  • The mouth and nose are fully covered

  • The covering fits snugly against the sides of the face so there are no gaps

  • You do not have any difficulty breathing while wearing the cloth face covering

  • The cloth or paper face covering can be tied or otherwise secured to prevent the mask from moving around

Other tips while using a cloth or paper face covering:

  • Avoid touching your face as much as possible

  • Keep the face covering clean, frequently wash the face covering

  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately, before putting on, after touching or adjusting, and after removing the cloth face coverings

  • Do not share it with anyone else, unless you have washed and dried it first







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