Masks help prevent spread of virus

Covid-19 guidelines by the government recommend wearing face coverings in crowded places where it is not possible to comply with physical-distancing measures, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not offer total protection. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with. Face coverings do not replace social distancing. Frequent hand-washing and social distancing are more effective.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 (a cough and/or high temperature, or loss of smell and taste) must isolate at home; wearing a face covering does not change this.

A variety of face masks are available locally. Stu-Pots has KN95 style masks which are useable for seven days, and single-use disposable masks. The Pharmacy is also selling surgical single-use masks, limited to five per person.

The Oundle sewing group, Material Girls, has joined the Big Community Sew and is using fabric scraps to make masks. Finished masks are dropped off in a box at Pick Arthey for people to pick up free as needed.

A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances, but they must be used carefully to avoid being contaminated by other people’s coughs and sneezes, or when putting them on or removing them.

It is important to use face coverings properly: wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times. Used face coverings should be stored in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of two or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, such as unassisted primary age children, or those with respiratory conditions.

Meagan Iu
May 2020