Wearing face coverings helps slow the spread of COVID-19. This is why both the state and the Tri-County Health Department have public health orders in place requiring face coverings indoors in public places. Face coverings should be worn regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, except in settings designated by CDC guidance.
The CDC and the US Surgeon General strongly endorse the use of non-medical or cloth face masks. They are believed to be particularly important in preventing transmission to others, especially among the large percentage of COVID-19 infected persons who are asymptomatic and don’t realize that they have a risk of transmitting infection to others.
Evidence for Masks
Transmission of the virus can occur when an infected person expels respiratory droplets and a non-infected person breathes these in through their nose and into the lungs, or touches a surface with the droplets on them and then touches their mouth or nose. Respiratory droplets are called aerosols and are a type of particle in the air. Larger sizes can carry the COVID-19 virus through the air.
- Stanford Medicine, University of Colorado, Arizona State University and others have found that the cloth face covering, depending on the material, can protect the user from about 50% of particles in the air like those from coughs and sneezes. Also, because these face coverings cover the mouth and nose they stop the source of the aerosols produced by sick, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people.
- Read the CDC Scientific Brief: Community Use of Cloth Masks to Control the Spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Changes in Guidance
New information was discovered about the asymptomatic (infected but not showing symptoms) and pre-symptomatic (infected but not showing symptoms yet) transmission of the virus. The US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, changed the recommendation due to the change in information. Watch the Surgeon general explains evolution of CDC face mask guidance.
Double masking and using multiple layers of materials can improve the effectiveness of wearing a mask. One example is to wear a single cloth mask with multiple layers of fabric. Another example is wearing one disposable mask underneath a single cloth mask. Masks should not restrict breathing and should not impair eyesight.
Social Distancing with Masks
Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Face coverings should be used together with social distancing to provide the most protection from the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing also means avoiding gathering in large groups, limiting contact with others outside of your household, and keeping 6 feet of physical distance between you and other people who are not yet fully vaccinated.
Snapshot of Percent of People Wearing a Mask in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties
Masking data is added to our data dashboard. This data is collected by our Environment Health team and volunteers collecting data at local facilities on the public wearing masks, public not wearing masks, and public not wearing masks properly. This data has been helpful as we continue to promote the importance of mask-wearing and protecting the ones we love. Scroll down to the end of the data dashboard to see the masking data by county and select cities.