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Masking Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Masking Recommendations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Author: Jackson County Public Health/Friday, May 15, 2020/Categories: COVID-19 - What You Need To Know, Community Resources

As COVID-19 continues to spread within Oregon and the United States, Jackson County Public Health recommends that everyone take action to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Governor Kate Brown announced the use of face coverings are required for indoor public spaces in every Oregon county, effective July 1, 2020.  Children under 12 years of age, as well as people with a disability or medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering, are not required to wear one. The guidance applies to businessess and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces.  It is recommended that everyone should stay close to home, practice physical distancing (stay 6 feet away from people who are not in your household), and practice good hygiene (wash your hands and clean highly touched surfaces).  

How face coverings work

Face coverings, made from cloth or paper, prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading respiratory droplets when talking, sneezing, or coughing. If everyone wears a cloth face covering when out in public, such as going to the grocery store, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can be reduced for the community.  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.  Face coverings worn by others protect you from getting the virus from people carrying the virus. 

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


Custom DIY face masks have already become popular with youths. People have been making and buying a wide variety of fun and unique designs, like in the photo below.

Handmade Face Mask


Design Tips:

  1. Build a mask that tightly encloses the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extending onto the cheek beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when talking or moving.
  2. Use mask material that is tightly woven but breathable. Possibly double-layer the fabric.
  3. Masks must be made from washable material such as fabric.
  4. Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures and bleach without shrinking or otherwise deforming.
  5. The mask should be tolerant of expected amounts of moisture from breathing.

Here is one example of a simple no-sew homemade mask:

More design examples:

There is no standard design for a homemade facemask therefore, consider innovation using the design principle above. Below are example designs for consideration:


Written instructions:



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