NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Health is helping its patients slow the spread of COVID-19 by launching “Masks On,” a campaign to educate the public about the importance of wearing a face mask in public. Ochsner recently mailed 100,000 complimentary cloth masks to both pediatric and adult patients.
Ochsner is advising all individuals two and older to wear face masks in public spaces, based on recommendations from the CDC. Governor John Bel Edwards announced a statewide mask mandate for Louisiana residents on July 11, in response to growing COVID-19 cases across the state.
“We have seen firsthand how face masks and other social distancing measures play a vital role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Wearing a mask in public is a simple, but powerful way to protect both yourself and those around you,”said Dr. Robert Hart, Chief Medical Officer, Ochsner Health.
Ochsner says that COVID-19 can spread between people who are close to each other when speaking, coughing or sneezing, making wearing a cloth face mask in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain critically important. Recent studies show many people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic and even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
Ochsner also says that cloth masks can be made at home with household items. The CDC has directions on how to make a mask that doesn’t require sewing, using a bandanna or T-shirt. It also has directions on making a simple mask that can be sewed at home. Another option is to support small businesses, local crafters, retailers, or online stores selling masks in a wide assortment of prints and patterns.
According to Ochsner, all cloth face coverings should:
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
When removing a face covering, avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Remember to always wash hands after removing a face covering. It’s also important to wash and dry face masks regularly.
You can purchase an Ochsner face mask at Ochsnerstore.org.