As of Sunday, the Washington State Department of Health — mirroring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — recommends residents wear cloth face masks any time they are in public and can’t guarantee they’ll be able to stay at least six feet away from another person.
While coverings might reduce some additional transmission, the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through thorough hand-washing, not touching your face and staying at home as much as possible, the health department wrote Sunday in a Medium post.
“Face coverings will not work without clean hands and good social distance,” the health department wrote.
Face masks should cover the mouth and nose with multiple layers of fabric and be secured with ties or ear loops, according to the health department. Health officials have stressed the coverings are not hospital masks; surgical and N95 masks should be reserved for health care workers.
Cloth face coverings should not be used on children under the age of 2.
Essential workers who can’t avoid being within six feet of another person should wear the covering all day, the health department says. The coverings should be washed after each use, at least daily. In a washing machine, they should be washed with detergent and hot water, then dried on a hot cycle.