Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
As new cases of COVID-19 have surfaced throughout Nevada County, people continue to have varying views about wearing masks. So why should we care if others are not wearing masks if we choose to?
Based on growing concerns that COVID-19 cases have increased because voluntary precautions are not be taken by many, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement on Thursday ordering all Californians to wear masks or face coverings in public and high risk settings.
“Science shows that face coverings and masks work,” Newsom stated. A study by the IZA Institute of Labor Economics in Germany found face masks reduced the growth rate of infection by 40 percent. As one might expect, those utilizing health services such as hospitals, doctor appointments, dentist offices, and pharmacies must adhere to mask requirements. Statewide guidelines also include individuals inside or in line of any indoor public space. People utilizing any form of public transit are also required to have a face covering.
The mandate also encompasses office settings where people cannot physically distance, outside interactions where it is not possible to stay six feet away from others, and food service workers. Those traveling through hallways and riding in elevators should also be masked.
With an incubation period of 14 days, someone can spread COVID-19 without being aware that he or she has the virus. For example:
A positive COVID-19 carrier who chooses not to wear a mask has a transmission probability of 70 percent to a healthy person with a mask. A positive COVID-19 carrier with a mask has a probability of 5 percent transmission to a healthy person not wearing a mask. A positive COVID-19 carrier with a mask has a 1.5 percent probability of transmitting the virus to a healthy person with a mask.
There are exemptions to the Governor’s order. Children age 2 and younger and people with medical, mental health or developmental issues. Those eating at restaurants can take off their mask. Additionally, those who are participating in outdoor activities such as swimming, walking, hiking, etc., may go without a face mask as long as they can stay six feet from others.
State Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angall believes as Californians venture more and more into their communities, wearing face coverings is one of the most important ways to protect one another and minimize the potential spread of the virus. Many think that only high risk individuals need to wear masks, but the number of young people being adversely affected by the virus is growing at a significant rate. According to a Washington Post story in mid-April, data showed 759 people under age 50 in the U.S. had died of COVID-19 with at least 190 of those in their 30s.
It’s clear from the research that while wearing a mask may not prevent you for becoming susceptible to the virus, not wearing a mask if you are symptomatic or asymptomatic will certainly increase the chances of your passing it on to someone else.
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