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CDC recommends face cloth masks for the public, local doctor offer tips on how to keep them clean

Posted at 9:29 PM, Apr 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 00:29:43-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending for the public to wear cloth face masks if social distancing is difficult in certain settings.

Kyle Heber is a local Internal Medicine physician at Centric Health and is actively treating patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Heber says the CDC's recommendation to wear face masks is a needed action to help stop the spread of the virus.

"Yes, if you have access to a regular ordinary surgical mask that would be more sufficient," said Heber. "In the interest of conserving resources using these cloths or reusable masks are perfectly fine."

Heber shares it's important when using masks to properly clean them to prevent accidental contamination.

Also, if using EPA recommended cleaning material like Lysol, do not use the mask immediately after disinfecting.

"Anytime you touch the masks and it comes on-or-off you should wash your hands," said Heber. "Then the masks should be cleaned thoroughly every time that you use them or at least once a day."

The CDC's recommendation inpart states the following.

"In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings, where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirator”.

Dr. Herber says N-95 masks should be left for medical professionals on the front lines.

"N-95 masks should not be used really by people who are not health care providers," Heber said. "The main reason is that there are a lot of different sizes and shapes of N-95 masks, and to be any more effective than a regular mask you have to be fit tested."

23ABC reached out to the Kern County Public Health Department regarding this new recommendation and asked if they would start requiring essential workers to wear masks.

In a statement, public health says, "we are evaluating both CDC and California Department of Health recommendations, and will provide any changes to our recommendation this week.”

To learn how to create a face mask click here.