After weeks of mixed messages, Michiganders urged to wear masks to prevent coronaviruses

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Michigan residents are officially encouraged to wear some kind of face covering while in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer at a press conference on Monday asked residents to wear homemade masks if they were to leave their homes. Residents are always encouraged to continue to wash their hands, limit their homes to essential travel and practice social distancing.

The governor’s message, Monday, April 6, follows the most recent guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is accompanied by continued advocacy to leave the N95 and surgical masks to healthcare professionals who are already facing a shortage of necessary protective equipment.

“I want to be clear, however, wearing a mask does not mean that you are immune and that you do not need to follow all of the other CDC guidelines,” said Whitmer.

“We still have to tell people six feet away when you are in public, to wash your hands by coughing or sneezing in the crook of your arm.” It is crucial that just wearing a mask does not give you a false sense of security and thinks that you can resume a normal life. It’s just extra protection. ”

For weeks, health officials have been wondering whether it is necessary, or even effective, to wear face covers in public if people are not already sick or are caring for a sick person.

The CDC previously said that healthy people should only wear masks when caring for someone infected with the virus. The World Health Organization has recommended the same thing, as health workers have faced a shortage of personal protective equipment such as masks.

As of Friday afternoon, April 4, the CDC pivoted.

The CDC now recommends that people wear non-surgical cloth covers when going out in public during the pandemic. Members of the public should always avoid wearing N95 respirators, which should be left to healthcare professionals who interact directly with sick patients.

“We need to leave surgical masks or N95 masks to our frontline health workers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Director of Michigan.

“If you have to go out, you have to wear a mask to protect yourself and others. We ask people to join the MI mask challenge, make a mask out of a cloth or bandana and wear one every time you go out. “

Wearing a blanket over the nose and mouth can prevent people who are infected, but not symptomatic, from spreading the virus when they speak, cough, or sneeze in public.

Even hours before the CDC came out with its new mask guidelines on Friday, The Branch-Hillsdale-St. The Joseph Community Health Agency asked the public to avoid wearing masks in public.

“The data from experts in infectious diseases, and they are well referenced, do not recommend requiring the general public who does not present symptoms of COVID-19 type disease to wear surgical cloths or masks regularly because there is no “There is no scientific evidence of their effectiveness in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus,” said medical director Lauren Vogel in a press release on Friday. “In addition, we must preserve the supply of surgical masks for healthcare professionals at risk.

“The fact remains that social isolation and good hygiene are the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

President Donald Trump announced the CDC’s new directions at a press conference on Friday, but added that he did not think he would wear one in public.

The virologist Ebenezar Tumban of Michigan’s Technological University said the most important thing is that healthcare professionals, who are guaranteed to interact with sick patients, must have access to N95 masks.

For the rest of the public, he said, the use of homemade cloth masks, bandanas or scarves “will not do any harm” and can act as a shield that reduces the likelihood of being infected or infected. infect others around you.

In late February, US general surgeon Jerome Adams asked residents to stop buying masks and said they were “not effective in preventing the general public from getting coronavirus.”

On April 2, the Michigan medical director said residents should “seriously consider” wearing masks in public during the pandemic.

“If there is an N95 mask or a surgical mask, we want it to go directly to our hospital partners,” said Khaldun. “That said, we do know that some people may have a mask at home or that they may be able to make a fabric mask or bandanna, and if they want, they can. They should think about it seriously and it will certainly not cause any harm. “

Claire Danielson, medical laboratory scientist at Michigan Tech, said that people who chose to wear face covers and gloves in public should remember that they should not be worn all day and in different places. Also, if you wear a mask and keep adjusting it, or if you touch other surfaces and don’t wash your hands, you could end up getting infected anyway.

“This is really about preventing the droplets from spreading,” she said. “It won’t necessarily protect you from getting sick, but it could reduce the risks and prevent you from continuing to spread them.” “

One way to make a homemade mask, said Danielson, is to sew a new vacuum filter into a piece of fabric that could be worn to cover your nose and mouth. She said that these filters are known to filter very small particles.

Carol Heron, a resident of Essexville, shared a demonstration on how citizens can sew their own masks at home. She said she was following the recommended guidelines for making her masks.

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing your hands regularly and not touching your face, authorities recommend practicing social distancing, assuming that anyone can carry the virus. Health officials say that you should stay at least 6 feet from others and work from home, if possible. Take a hand sanitizer with you and use disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray cleaners on frequently touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, counters) and when you go to places like stores.

More on MLive:

Monday April 6: Latest developments on coronaviruses in Michigan

Second Michigan legislator confirmed for coronavirus

$ 7 million economic impact expected after coronavirus cancels dozens of sporting events in Kalamazoo

Portage student-athlete makes masks to fight the spread of coronavirus

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