Fri | Jun 5, 2020

New guidance on wearing masks

Published:Tuesday | April 7, 2020 | 12:31 AM

Local health officials have tweaked instructions on the wearing of masks indicating that persons who cannot avoid “crowded situations” should put on the protective gear to decrease the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.

According to the Ministry of Health & Wellness, members of the public are at highest risk of exposure to droplets emitted by infected persons gathered in proximity.

The new directive comes even as the number of persons who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus increased to 59 yesterday. The new addition is a 43-year-old man from Portland, who is under investigation.

The ministry has also advised that people who do not readily have access to running water, or where living conditions do not allow for physical distancing, should wear a mask in addition to observing the necessary infection-prevention control measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, in recent times, suggested the wearing of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it, from transmitting it to others.

Meanwhile, the health ministry is advising Jamaicans to exercise caution in how they wear masks in a bid to prevent COVID-19. It says that members of the public must observe infection-prevention measures, such as washing and sanitising hands, even while wearing the mask.

“Many persons are advocating for the routine wearing of masks by the general public. Yes, it can be useful. It does offer some protection, especially where there are persons who are coughing and sneezing within your three-to-six-foot personal space,” Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, chief medical officer, declared.

“Wearing a mask continuously is uncomfortable and you must avoid touching and adjusting the mask, as if the mask is contaminated, you will contaminate your hands and infect yourselves and others,” Bisasor-McKenzie cautioned.