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Health officials urge public not to wear personal protective equipment to shield against COVID-19

File Photo | Photo: Polina Tankilevitch.

McHenry County health officials are urging the public to avoid using masks and gloves since personal protective equipment is in short supply for those who need it.

The McHenry County Department of Health said that personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves are not necessary for the majority of people.

Those who are well and healthy do not need to wear a mask unless they have been instructed to do so by their doctor, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.

“This may be recommended for ill family members who cannot isolate themselves from the rest of their family,” MCDH Medical Advisor Dr. Laura Buthod said.

“Masks and gloves are most needed by our healthcare workers and first responders who come in contact with body fluids and secretions on a regular basis,” Buthod said.

“Please do not take these needed supplies away from these helpers in our community. Lack of these supplies put them at risk for infection so they can’t help us when we need them,” Buthod warned.

Buthod also warned against homemade face masks and gloves, saying that it gives people a false sense of security against the coronavirus.

“Because this is a virus that spreads person-to-person through droplets, cloth is too porous and unable to capture all droplets. Covering your face with a cloth if you have symptoms will somewhat reduce the spread of droplets, but it doesn’t eliminate them and should be used as an absolute last resort,” said Lindsey Salvatelli, Community Information Coordinator for the McHenry County Department of Health.

“You could still touch your mouth or eyes with contaminated gloves and spread the virus to yourself. As we have been stating over and over again, staying home, washing your hands effectively for 20 seconds, and keeping a 6 foot social distance when you must be out are the most effective strategies for preventing infection,” Buthod said.

Health officials are asking the public to listen to these rules to protect older people and those with chronic health problems who are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

Visit CDC.gov or mcdh.info for more information on the virus. Those who have general questions about the coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline at 800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.


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