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CDC recommends masks as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise

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For those keeping a close eye on coronavirus stats provided by the Alabama Department of Public Heath, the significance of these numbers is likely apparent – confirmed cases, total tested and total deaths from the illness, respectively, statewide.

Perhaps of greater interest are the numbers specific to Franklin County, where the ADPH reports 14 confirmed cases out of 212 total tests – and one reported death, although the department has yet to confirm that death is directly tied to coronavirus.

As the stay-at-home order and social distancing precautions remain in effect, many aspects of “ordinary life” remain far from ordinary, with restaurants remaining closed, school continuing at home and all community events on hold.

Alabama’s stay-at-home order is in effect through April 30, before which time Gov. Kay Ivey has said the state will reevaluate the conditions and make a determination as to next steps.

Although Alabamians have been encouraged to stay home as much as possible, a number of exceptions allow people to go out, including for necessary supplies like medicine and groceries, to exercise while observing social distancing and to report to essential jobs.

As of April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending anyone venturing from their homes to take another precaution some have already embraced voluntarily: wearing a mask.

According the CDC recommendation, people should “wear non-medical face coverings in public settings … as a way to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.” The CDC noted this new stipulation “should not replace the recommendations to practice social distancing, to stay home and to frequently wash and sanitize your hands.”  

A non-medical face covering can be a scarf, a bandanna or other face covering, according to the CDC.  

“Please remember that medical masks need to be reserved for use by our hospitals, first responders and other healthcare providers to protect them and to make sure they are available when we need their help,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary McIntyre of the Alabama Department of Public Health. “If you have extra medical masks, gowns or gloves, please donate these.” 

Instructions on how to make face masks can be found on CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

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