Weekly Update 5_29_2020

New York and New Jersey continue to record declining numbers of new infections as does the entire nation.

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A big announcement was made this week by Governor Phil Murphy, that the class of 2020 will have their opportunity to join their classmates, educators, and families to celebrate graduation starting July 6. Outdoor graduation ceremonies will be allowed while social distancing requirements and other necessary health and safety measures remain in place. Guidance regarding the limit in terms of people allowed to gather out of doors will come in the next few weeks, dictated by health data, from the state.

Secondly, an announcement was made that professional sports teams that train or play in New Jersey are allowed to return to training camps pending individual league determinations. Protocols will be in place to protect the health and safety of the players, coaches, and team personnel at facilities. Governor Murphy also mentions that he is hopeful see youth sport resumption in the near future, although exact guidance regarding when and how that will happen remains nebulous.

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At this time masks remain important for use in public spaces.

The truths and myths about masks:

  • Truth: A cloth mask is suitable.

The CDC recommends the use of a simple is covering, such as a cloth mask or even a bandana. Diminished droplet contamination is the purpose of a face covering. Surgical masks nor N 95 respirators are not recommended for the general public, as those remain critical supplies reserved for healthcare workers.

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  • Myth: I won’t get sick if I wear a mask.

Wearing a mask does not guarantee that you won’t get sick; Cloth masks reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming in contact with others or landing on surfaces. This can reduce the transmission of the virus from those infected, sometimes unknowingly.

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  • Myth: I only need to cover my mouth with my mask.

In order to properly wear a mask, you must cover both your nose and your mouth. This helps to keep your germs to yourself, in turn keeping others from getting sick.

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  • Truth: I should store my mask in a paper bag when I’m not wearing it, if I’m not unable to wash it immediately.

When taking your mask off, you should fold it to avoid contamination, and avoid touching the outside when you take it off. If you’re not able to wash it immediately, you should store it in a paper bag so it can dry out and not contaminate any other surfaces.

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  • Myth: I don’t have to cover my mouth when wearing a mask.

Cover your mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze even when wearing mask. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water if you touch the outside of your mask.

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  • Truth: You can wash cloth masks in the washing machine.

Masks should be washed according to how frequently they are worn. The best way to clean a cloth mask is in the washing machine and drying it completely. Cloth masks should be thrown away if they are damaged.

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  • Myth: Everyone should wear a mask.

Cloth masks should not be placed on children under the age of 2, or anyone that has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

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  • Myth: Hypercapnia is a concern with wearing masks.

Many people are concerned that masks allow carbon dioxide to accumulate – hypercapnia is a medical term for breathing in toxic levels of CO2. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, headache, feeling short of breath, and disorientation. In studies performed in nurses wearing N95 masks for 12 hour shifts there was a slight increase in levels of measured CO2, but no physiological problems for healthcare workers. (Rebmann, et al; American Journal of Infection Control, 12/2013)

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